x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Fourth-fastest Fernando Alonso still delighted at 'perfect' lap

The Ferrari driver feels that he achieved his goal in qualifying for his home Spanish Grand Prix.

BARCELONA // Fernando Alonso said earlier this week that he would "try to find perfection" at his home Spanish Grand Prix this weekend. Yesterday, following his final lap of qualifying, he felt he had achieved his goal, even though his clocked time was only the fourth fastest of the session.

"I did a perfect lap: I reckon that if I tried to repeat it 20 times, I could not do better," said the Ferrari driver after circumnavigating Circuit de Catalunya's 4.65km in one minute 21.964 seconds, a time bettered only by pole-sitter Mark Webber, Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton.

"When you do a lap like that it's hard to put into words what one feels: always being on the limit in every corner is a really special feeling for a driver.

"I am very happy with this result, because we have never made it to the second row this year." The Italian manufacturers had started the day with disappointment after the sport's decision-makers deemed the team's new rear wing illegal.

Instead they ran with the same wing they had used in Turkey earlier this month as well as adding some new parts. But the effect was their poorest final practice session of the season.

Alonso said the new parts were removed before qualifying: "We ran some set-up changes on the car that did not produce the results we were expecting. For qualifying, we went back to what we had before and instantly it was better."

Domenicali added: "This sport never stops throwing up surprises.

"We had our worst FP3 of the year in the morning with both cars struggling then we find ourselves commenting on our best qualifying position. This fourth place was down to an incredible performance by Fernando, who drove a simply stunning lap."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae