Fernando Alonso has admitted that qualifying at the United States Grand Prix on Friday evening was “very badly managed” by Aston Martin, as he was forced to deal with traffic ahead of his Q1 elimination.
For the second Grand Prix in a row, qualifying took place on the Friday due to it being a sprint weekend, meaning that parc ferme came into effect ahead of qualifying, meaning set up changes cannot be made.
This could be a huge problem for Aston Martin, as Alonso’s “maximum” was only good enough for 17th on the grid for Sunday’s race.
The shocking result marked Alonso’s first Q1 elimination of the season and the first time that he’d failed to progress to Q3 all year.
Despite being eliminated in the first part of the session, the 42-year-old still qualified ahead of Lance Stroll, who’ll start from P19.
In Stroll’s defence, he only completed a handful of laps during Free Practice 1, following a brake problem which also saw Alonso spend more time than expected in the garage.
It meant that both drivers failed to really gauge an understanding of the Silverstone-based team’s new upgrades package, which has been introduced this weekend.
Given the minimal practice time, it was an interesting decision by Aston Martin to introduce a sizeable package, with Alonso noting that there were “too many unknowns” ahead of qualifying, in regard to how to get the most out of them.
Traffic on his out-lap was also “not ideal” for the Spaniard, who complained about how he crossed the start/finish line to start his final flying lap with just one-second on the clock.
It meant his final lap when the track was at its best in Q1 was compromised, as he was on the receiving end of turbulent air of cars ahead of him.
“It [the lap pace] was the maximum,” admitted Alonso, as reported by RacingNews365.com.
“The out-lap was not ideal, especially with the traffic, it was very badly managed – I think I crossed the line one second within the limit. I started the lap too close to the cars in front.
“But the lap felt ok. Let’s see if we can have a good Sprint because the Grand Prix is heavily compromised now.
“[There were] too many unknowns in terms of how to operate the package on the new car. So yeah, I think we went a bit blind into qualifying and obviously we see the results.
“So nothing we can do now, we are in parc fermé, we use this weekend as a test for next year as well, even if they are painful. So let’s see what we can learn in the remaining sessions.”