Alonso: We have a real chance to get points
An upbeat Fernando Alonso set his sights on a morale-boosting first points finish of the season for McLaren qualifying 13th for his home Spanish Grand Prix.
Despite being eclipsed by rookie compatriot Carlos Sainz, who will start in fifth place for Toro Rosso, the double world champion believes a breakthrough is possible for his Honda-powered team.
“[In the race] we have a real chance to get points,” said Alonso, who reported no problems from the eye infection that had been troubling him earlier in the week and said his vision would be fine for the race.
“I think we can take points tomorrow but it doesn’t change too much,” added the twice winner at the Circuit de Catalunya.
“To be honest to finish ninth or 10th — one point or two points is not what we want. We want much bigger than that.
“But for the team motivation, to achieve some results that you can touch — because at the moment they are only hopes and words — if we can start scoring points physically in the race that will be a help.”
Former champions McLaren, the second most successful team in the sport, have not won a grand prix since 2012 and are five races into a new Honda partnership.
Saturday marked the first time this season that McLaren had got both their cars through the first phase of qualifying, with Britain’s 2009 champion Jenson Button 14th fastest.
“It’s another step forward,” said Alonso, who left Ferrari at the end of last year and missed the opening race of 2015 after a heavy crash in testing in Barcelona in February.
“I think we see the signs of improving but we know that we are a long way off and now we need to make huge steps if we want to catch the midfield cars.”
Button was less convinced about his chances of a points finish however, after complaining earlier about the handling of his car.
“I really don’t know where we’re going to end up,” he told reporters, with Alonso alongside. “You’ve got to look at the times from Friday and the top 10 were very quick on their long runs.
“So I want what Fernando had for breakfast this morning. Maybe I’ll be a bit more positive.”