Alonso remaining confident despite further Honda issues in Spain

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"We will try to take the maximum points for the team".

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, left, stands with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland, center, and Mclaren driver Fernando Alonso of Spain after the qualifying session for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, May 13, 2017.

He's a two-time world champion that wants to be a three-time world champion and he's only going to do that in a vehicle that would win.

"I think it is going to be a tough race for us, when you see how close it is between us - it is milliseconds", Hamilton said. Such is the life of a McLaren F1 fan in 2017: we're always hoping for a surprise in the form of the pretty orange F1 vehicle not breaking for a change.

Alonso has finished only one in four races so far this season, with McLaren yet to score a point, and he failed to start in Russian Federation two weeks ago when the auto halted on the formation lap.

On Friday morning, he was unable to run in the opening practice after his McLaren-Honda engine failed, returning in the afternoon for an unimpressive set of laps in second practice.

Alonso's deal with McLaren expires at the end of the year and it seems unlikely he will extend his torrid three-season stay with the British team. He marked the importance of a good start in order to protect his position.

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It was a busy morning in the garages of both Mercedes and Ferrari, which had to replace engines. "We had the problem in the morning and then the vehicle was half ready for the second session".

Alonso even gave a shout-out to his hardworking but ultimately hobbled team after qualifying. Alonso said. "After the weekend how it started yesterday with the failure etcetera and our highest position was 13th so far this year so Q3 was a dream, not a possibility that we thought before coming here". "Yesterday, I wasn't feeling the rhythm".

Alonso finished bottom of the timing screens in the second session, but was able to complete twenty-one laps of the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, and he admitted that the pace showed was not that representative of where they should be, having had very little time to calibrate the new power unit that was fitted to his MCL32 between sessions.

So far, it looks like tweaks made by the title contenders have canceled one other out.

Hamilton described how the same turn can be completely different to handle, depending on the wind. From corner to corner, sometimes you break in the same spot, but you tail off because of a tailwind.

"There is the opportunity this weekend to do a one-two and pull away from the Ferraris", Hamilton said.