Thursday, 17 may 2018, 16:34 , by Matthew Scott
Fernando Alonso is confident that McLaren have closed the gap to midfield rivals Renault and Haas. Alonso took part in Q3 for the first time in 2018 at the Spanish Grand Prix, before going on to maintain his 100 per cent streak of points-scoring finishes this season.
Only Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton have matched Alonso's run of top-10 finishes this season, although the veteran is yet to better his fifth-place finish at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
Only Haas' Kevin Magnussen outqualified Alonso at the Circuit de Catalunya among midfielders, with Mercedes, Ferrari and Red bull locking out the first three rows respectively.
Alonso and McLaren made bold claims about their expectations of securing podium finishes and even race wins in 2018 after ditching Honda for Renault power units.
A raft of upgrades brought to Barcelona have helped them make progress, and Alonso believes that only the top three now sit ahead of McLaren.
"We knew that the upgrades would put ourselves in a better position in the midfield pack," said Alonso.
"We did a good step. We were eight tenths behind Renault in Baku, nine tenths behind in China, but [in Spain] we were the same in qualifying and in the race.
"I think we caught up with Renault and probably with Haas as well, but the top three teams are still developing the cars at the same rate we do and unfortunately we've kept that gap.
"I was behind Leclerc half of the race and it was definitely difficult. We are still lacking some straight-line speed to be able to overtake.
"It's something that we are working on. We know our weakness on the car and hopefully we'll find solutions quite soon."