Alonso claims McLaren have 'best car' in Mexico
Fernando Alonso has frequently been left exasperated by the performance of his McLaren, but made the bold claim that the team had the "best car on track" in the Mexican Grand Prix qualifying sessions.
Although McLaren's problems with their Honda engines have been widely documented, two-time world champion Alonso is hugely encouraged by the progress that has been made in other areas.
The Spaniard posted the fifth-fastest time in Q1 on Saturday, before opting against setting a time in Q2 to preserve his tyres - with a hefty grid penalty meaning he was already sure of starting at the back of the grid together with team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne.
Nevertheless, Alonso was hugely positive as he assessed his day's work.
"Today, for the first time in three years, we can be pretty sure that we had the best car on track," the 36-year-old was quoted as saying by Motorsport.com.
"The engine is the same. In fact, today we have the previous engine. Yesterday [Friday] we used the new engine but saved it for [the last two races of the season in] Brazil and Abu Dhabi.
"So all the improvements are thanks to the aero and a bit to the suspension parts we've brought over the past races. As of today, or at least today, we have the best car.
"The car was handling incredible. In the corners it has very good grip and it allows you to drive instinctively and easily. [It has been] a spectacular weekend up until now."
Alonso set the fastest time in the middle sector during Q1 and added: "It's been a while since we set a pink sector. It's probably the best weekend of the whole season.
"Unfortunately with the engine penalty we start last, so tomorrow [Sunday] will be almost impossible to score points because on the straight we won't be able to overtake, but we are preparing [for] 2018 as best as possible."
Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel took pole ahead of Max Verstappen on Saturday, with champion-elect Lewis Hamilton forced to settle for third on the grid.