Alonso gives McLaren deadline to win

I have very little time in these weeks with travelling to Indy ready for the race, with planes, etc.

Alonso had his best day behind the wheel of his trouble-prone McLaren on Saturday in qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix, finally giving his Formula One team some relief and his home Spanish fans a reason to cheer.

Just when McLaren had nowhere to go but up, it sunk to a new low when Fernando Alonso's first lap of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix ended in a puff of smoke and a pool of engine fluid on Friday.

Alonso secured McLaren's first Q3 appearance of the season in Spain by setting the seventh quickest lap, but went wide on the opening lap following contact with Felipe Massa, and was sent through the gravel as a result.

Lewis Hamilton, who finished only fourth at the last round in Russian Federation and who trails Vettel by 13 points, led from team-mate Valtteri Bottas in both practice sessions.

Alonso's attention quickly turned to his pursuit of the second jewel in the Triple Crown and feels he is in with a small chance of winning the iconic race. "So for the first phase I tried to be two or three tenths slower than that reference lap".

"I have 14 hours, more or less, to rest and nine of them will be in the plane as in 14 hours I'll be in the auto again".

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"Now is not the time for me to think of this", he said.

Alonso will hope to have better luck in FP2 later on Friday, providing his vehicle can be repaired in time. McLaren are yet to score a point this term and Alonso hasn't finished a race. At the same time the driver who replaced him at Ferrari, Sebastian Vettel, now leads the 2017 World Championship.

Mercedes said that after it fixed an electrical problem in the power unit of Bottas' auto, the team was forced to change the engine altogether due to a water leak.

Alonso repeated what he said in an interview with AS while in Australia: "Now is not the time to think beyond this summer, but in September or October, I will need to consider what I will do next year... It was tricky for us", Hamilton said.

Vettel wasn't pleased coming in behind the Mercedes, and put the burden on himself to get more out of his vehicle that has given Mercedes its first real challenge in years.

Qualifying is later for Sunday's race.

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