Fernando Alonso hailed a "perfect" qualifying at the Singapore Grand Prix, despite McLaren once again failing to break into the top-10 shootout. Alonso will start 11th at Marina Bay, on the racing line for the first corner and, crucially, with free choice of tyres.
Alonso and those behind him are likely to start the race on ultrasoft tyres, capable of lasting much longer than the hypersofts that the top 10 all set their Q2 times on.
The veteran had said over team radio that he thought seventh – best of the rest behind Mercedes, Ferrari and Red Bull – was a possibility for McLaren, but he remained happy with his lot.
"I wanted to start from the clean side of the track, so P11 is perfect," Alonso said.
"I'll have Carlos [Sainz] alongside, as is usual, so hopefully we'll both move forward and score good points for us.
"We have the possibility to choose the tyres for the start, so that's an extra help to try and pass the two or three cars that will start ahead of us.
"It was important to avoid the hypersoft for the race, but of course you always want to be in Q3.
"But if you're 10th on the grid having to start with the hypersofts then you know you're in for a difficult Sunday.
"The hypersoft gives you around 2.5s advantage in qualifying but suffers from very high degradation in the long runs and has a lot of graining.
"If you have to stop early and return to the track in traffic then your race is basically done."
With 10 drivers ahead all starting on the quickest – but softest – tyre, Alonso sees a chance to score points for the first time since Hungary.
"They will have to manage the degradation of the hypersofts and I'm hoping we can make much longer runs with a harder compound," he added.
"Nevertheless it's going to be a very tight battle for the points, complicated."