Fernando Alonso blamed 'bad traffic' and a "messy" end to qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix for his failure to match Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Alonso will start from 10th on the grid for his home race at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, finishing just over half a second behind Alpine team-mate Esteban Ocon.
Alonso has claimed there were extenuating circumstances behind the performance, and that he should be judged more on what unfolded in Q2 if he is to be compared to Ocon.
"First of all, I didn't put a lap in Q3," said Alonso. "I had only one set of tyres and the last run was compromised by the traffic and everyone going at the last minute.
"Daniel Ricciardo and myself were the last two cars, and I had to stop in the last corner because there were five cars in front. I think I crossed the line with one second [remaining], and Daniel didn't make it. That's how messy it was.
"So the last proper lap I did was Q2, which was faster [than in Q3] - still slower than Esteban. It's not all down to that last run in Q3, as I was still two or three-tenths slower than him.
"I think that was the difference in qualifying, two or three tenths. I'm getting there. I'm much more comfortable with the car.
"After Bahrain, it's the second time I've reached the top 10. Maybe I was not lucky enough in Q3, or it was not executed well by myself or by the traffic management, or whatever, but I think it was a step forward."
Assessing the race at a circuit at which it is notoriously difficult to overtake, Alonso is already predicting difficulties to finish in the top 10
"It's going to be interesting to see which tyres the people behind choose to start with," added Alonso.
"Obviously, P10 is not an ideal position because you start with old tyres from Q2, and you start on the dirty side of the grid so the start performance will be worse than the driver in P11 or 13.
"So I think it's going to be tough to get into the points tomorrow with this starting position but we will try to grab some points, if it's one, two or four, okay, as much as we can to help the team."
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