Alonso urges McLaren to kick on after season's best qualifying

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The Spaniard will start eighth on Sunday with only Kevin Magnussen's Haas between him and the top three teams, and says the upgrades the team introduced have delivered, but warned more progress was needed in the coming races.

"I'm happy with this step forward".

"We (Alonso) are sixth in the World Championship and fourth in the constructors' championship, so it has been a very good start, in a way". "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 fans are not giving you extra performance because they can't push the auto, but they can motivate a little bit more so we seem to always perform a little bit better here.

"That is a positive thing, the correlation with the factory". The feeling was positive in the vehicle, and we ended up very close to Q3 - Fernando just made it - which shows the parts we've brought here are working well.

Also hoping McLaren can improve with its "B" auto this weekend is Alonso's teammate, Stoffel Vandoorne.

"Probably the downside of this position is still the gap to the top six".

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"Definitely I think this package is making me happy. In another way, this vehicle, is supposed to be the Australian Grand Prix package", he told Sky.

"That delay on the first improvement and not having it in the first race probably put us in a hard position in the first couple of races".

"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 new parts every single race". We are the only team completing the full four races with both cars.

Fernando Alonso was a victor on his World Endurance Championship debut last weekend but the Spanish Grand Prix is a reminder of just how long it has been since he last tasted success in Formula One.

"This year, for example, the track, they put new asphalt last winter so it's still a challenge for all of us to understand the best set-up and how you get around this new track, he explained".

"Definitely felt good. It felt a long time not being on the podium and it has been a good preparation", said Alonso, who will also compete in next month's 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he said victory would mean more than a home triumph this weekend.