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Just when McLaren had nowhere to go but up, they sunk to a new low when Fernando Alonso's first lap of practice for the Spanish Grand Prix ended in a puff of smoke and a pool of engine fluid on Friday.

"There are busy days ahead with all the travelling between America and Europe, I can not train a lot, so I said I'd rather train than sit around in the paddock for two hours", Alonso explained afterwards.

"Obviously, I don't have 100 percent confidence".

Hasegewa said a mechanical problem with the oil system led to Friday's failure and he is confident there won't be a repeat in the race, where Alonso will start seventh after making Q3 for the first time this season.

That debacle came a day after Alonso gave McLaren an ultimatum of six months to give him a vehicle with a chance of winning a championship.

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This new damage - during the morning session - and poor performance during the afternoon, marked the continuation of McLaren-Honda's disastrous start to the season in terms of reliability and performance.

But Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff said: "We are not doing anything for Honda, that is the current status quo".

The transformation 24 hours later was entirely unexpected, even for the fans still trekking to the Circuit de Catalunya out of loyalty to the double world champion who is still the only Spaniard to win a grand prix. With its rougher surface and tricky curves, the track gives slower cars like his McLaren a fighting chance.

Pressed on whether he can finish inside the points come Sunday, he replied: "We will see". "It is a long run down the first turn, so it is important to get a good start". "Seventh place maybe seems too good". Alonso has already chose to try his luck at the Indianapolis 500 instead of the Monaco GP this month. The Spaniard, who tested at Indianapolis Motor Speedway last week ahead of his Indy 500 debut later this month, said the result was unexpected. Such is the life of a McLaren F1 fan in 2017: we're always hoping for a surprise in the form of the pretty orange F1 auto not breaking for a change.

Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain, left, stands with Mercedes driver Valtteri Bottas of Finland, center, and Mclaren driver Fernando Alonso of Spain after the qualifying session for the Spanish Formula One Grand Prix at the Barcelona Catalunya racetrack in Montmelo, Spain, Saturday, May 13, 2017.


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