Alonso gives McLaren 6 months to fix failing F1 car

Alonso finished 1.9 seconds slower than pole victor Lewis Hamilton, but he defied expectations by beating out all the other teams that can't compete with Hamilton's Mercedes and challengers Ferrari and Red Bull.

The Spaniard suffered an engine failure on his first lap in practice at the Spanish Grand Prix, the latest in a series of problems for Honda in 2017.

With two wins in four races, Vettel leads Hamilton by 13 points in the standings.

"This is very hard, but it's even harder for McLaren, who have brought updates for the race and we haven't been able to try them", he said.

Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland, rear, steers his auto during the third practice session for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, May 13, 2017. He has struggled with inferior cars since, and his growing frustration has driven him to trading the endless twisting and turning of the labyrinth-like Monaco GP for a run at the Indianapolis 500 on an oval track later this month.

Despite McLaren and Honda having two weeks to find some desperately needed fixes, Alonso's auto spouted smoke and gushed fluid in a breakdown on the very first lap of practice on Friday.

There were high-fives in the McLaren garage, which included Mansour Ojjeh, a 25 per cent stakeholder in McLaren, as Alonso delivered another reminder of his incredible ability.

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Like Friday, Red Bull pair Max Verstappen and Daniel Ricciardo were fifth and sixth.

As well as Alonso's problems, team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne received a grid penalty at the last race in Russian Federation because he had already used more engine parts than is allowed for an entire season.

The two-time world champion isn't competing in the race as a public relations stunt, but rather, he's trying to showcase his talents in a way he now can't in F1. "I have a good feeling for tomorrow".

"I don't think that 50 is enough", said Alonso when asked after qualifying if an extra 50bhp would allow him to be on pole.

Hamilton and Vettel both pointed to the unpredictable gusts of wind - in otherwise ideal sunny conditions - that have troubled drivers all weekend. "It was tricky for us", Hamilton said. "It blew up after 400 metres", Alonso told reporters after returning for the second 90-minute practice session.

He revealed that he has already had it written into his contract that he will keep his race auto, as used in America on May 28, and put it on display in his personal vehicle museum in Spain.

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