Fernando Alonso says his qualifying lap at the Canadian Grand Prix was his best performance of the year and felt akin to securing pole position.
Alonso qualified 12th in Montreal, but did so with a Honda engine that was well down on power compared to his rivals'. His lap time was 1.2s off Lewis Hamilton's best time in Q2, which was put into context by a speed trap reading that showed the McLaren was 9km/h shy of the Mercedes on the back straight.
Alonso referenced 1.2s gap to Hamilton as a major achievement for McLaren on such a power-sensitive circuit.
"The truth is that it went better than we expected and this is the maximum we could have done," he said. "Twice I scrapped the wall, I finished again ahead of my teammate, which is always the first goal for any driver, and to get within 1.2s of the best time in Q2, with the power deficit we have, it's clearly like pole position for us.
"It was the best performance of the year, for sure."
Alonso is hoping for a top ten finish on Sunday, but said it would not be easy with Honda's reliability record and heavy fuel consumption.
"Tomorrow I'll try to collect some points. To finish the race won't be easy with all the reliability issues we have been facing, hopefully we'll managed to do that inside the top ten, as that's the main goal. In Spain I actually started 7th but it was difficult to overtake because we were very slow down the straights.
"Besides, with this engine we have to do a lot of fuel saving, we need to open the car to get as much cooling as possible to the radiators as the engine gets really hot and all that affects the performance."