Top three teams are in a league of their own, says Alonso

Alonso & his future in F1

Alonso & his future in F1

Pre-season testing was not as straightforward as McLaren would have liked and its problems had a effect on the development on the auto.

Alonso admitted the result left him with mixed feelings, happy that McLaren has taken a step forward but aware that the gap to the front is still significant.

Alonso finished in the points in all four races and is sixth in the drivers' standings, ahead even of Max Verstappen of Red Bull. Alonso started with a fifth place in Australia and was seventh in each of the next three races - Bahrain, China and Azerbaijan.

"I'm happy with this step forward". "We can put on a paper now what will be the qualifying here on Saturday, what will be in Monaco, in Canada and in Silverstone, so that's something you need to take into account for future decisions". The feeling was positive in the auto, and we ended up very close to Q3 - Fernando just made it - which shows the parts we've brought here are working well.

He added that he had hoped to have had a similarly competitive vehicle from the start of the season.

The Spaniard narrowly missed out on being the "best of the rest", qualifying just behind Kevin Magnussen's Haas.

Although McLaren aimed to be with the top teams in 2018, the Spaniard said the auto is actually "1.8 to 2 seconds behind".

"Probably the downside of this position is still the gap to the top six". It's a step in the right direction and we need to keep improving like this in the next races. "At the same time, I think it has been a very positive start to the season. In another way, this vehicle, is supposed to be the Australian Grand Prix package", he told Sky.

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"This auto, let's say, was supposed to be the Australian Grand Prix package not here at the Spanish Grand Prix".

"We saved them with a lot of points on Sundays with a little bit of luck and good races, but now we need to push the development and we need to bring new parts every single race".

"Still a long way to go for us, but at the same time we were here past year with zero points", two-time world champion Alonso said.

The Briton raced with McLaren full-time between 2010 and 2016 before hanging up his helmet after a one-off appearance in the Monaco Grand Prix previous year as he replaced the Indianapolis 500-bound Fernando Alonso.

"Every year we come here and it gets bigger and bigger and the people are excited no matter what".

"Hopefully tomorrow we'll put on a good show for all the fans". Watch the Spanish GP exclusively live on Sky Sports F1 on Sunday.

Will Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes make it back-to-back victories at the Circuit de Catalunya?

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