SATUR­DAY 25 MARCH, MEL­BOURNE, QUAL­I­FY­ING

F1 Racing - - POWER LIST -

“Okay, Fer­nando, we are through to Q2,” says his race engi­neer, Mark Tem­ple. “Now we just need some rain,” says an un­der­whelmed Alonso. He quits the fray at the end of the mid­dle ses­sion in 13th, 0.3 sec­onds off tenth-placed Car­los Sainz. Van­doorne man­ages only one lap in Q1 af­ter a fuel-ow prob­lem and is 18th.

The Mercedes switch is still very much on the agenda on Satur­day evening – at least as far as we, the me­dia, are con­cerned. “Ru­mours are ru­mours,” stonewalls team man­ager Eric Boul­lier at McLaren’s post-qual­i­fy­ing ‘meet the team’ ses­sion, while Honda F1 en­gine chief Yusuke Hasegawa ap­pears to spend most of the oc­ca­sion fail­ing to un­der­stand what he’s be­ing asked. It’s cring­ingly em­bar­rass­ing.

Again, Alonso has the look of a man who’d rather be any­where than stuck in front of us lot. Where’s his head at? “Well, as I said in test­ing I ex­pect a big change in the team, a big re­ac­tion,” he says. “We will not be 13th all sea­son – or I will not be 13th all sea­son.”

His break­ing point is surely ap­proach­ing.

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