There’s no doubt that two-time Formula One world champion Fernando Alonso is the best driver in the worst car, with a McLaren that failed him on his out-lap in Free Practice 1. Bizarrely, that McLaren F1 car held it together long enough to make into the final Qualifying 3 session and nab a seventh place start.
The Spanish Grand Prix is Alonso’s home race, so naturally, he wants to do well here.
“Maybe it’s the ovals,” Alonso told Sky Sports, joking about his decision to run off and do the Indianapolis 500 in an Andretti Autosport car equipped a Honda engine that actually works on a regular basis. “I learned to go fast on the straights!”
Alonso even gave a shout-out to his hardworking but ultimately hobbled team after qualifying. Collectively, McLaren’s Honda F1 power unit has moved beyond mere “letdown” status into a full-on disaster, but he does appreciate all the work they do to try to get it to work.
“They work so much, they changed so many power units in the first races,” Alonso told Sky Sports. “It feels so nice [to qualify seventh].”
It still feels weird to be excited about a McLaren only qualifying seventh, and Alonso beating a Force India, but it’s a small sign of progress that I’m sure will lead to an even larger crushing disappointment if and when the McLaren’s Honda engine fails us again. Such is the life of a McLaren F1 fan in 2017: we’re always hoping for a surprise in the form of the pretty orange F1 car not breaking for a change.
Here are the full qualifying results for the Spanish Grand Prix, complete with a Mercedes-Ferrari-Mercedes-Ferrari front two rows that should make for some good drama up front: