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Alonso finishes testing with a flourish with 'ambitious' MCL33

Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren MCL33
© XPB 

Fernando Alonso was an unexpected visitor to the top of the timesheets on the final day of pre-season testing at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The two-time world champion had been sidelined in the morning when a turbo charger on his McLaren failed just five laps into the day's programme.

But the team was able to get the MCL33 back out on track by mid-afternoon. Alonso went on to complete a decent tally of 93 laps before the chequered flag called time on the session.

He had put on hypersoft tyres for the final half hour, and succeeded in jumping up to second place on the timing screens. His lap of 1:17.784s was just half a second off the top time set by Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Alonso even briefly went top when he crossed the line on 1:16.720s. However, the time was swiftly deleted when it was confirmed he had cut the final chicane in the process.

Even so, it was an impressive recovery for the Spanish driver after the morning frustrations.

"Winter testing is done," Alonso said. "Some problems in some days, but nevertheless we completed the program every day.

"On the final day we put a little bit more performance in the car and everything seems to work in the right direction.

"There's still more to come," he stated confidently. "I think everyone is hiding a little bit, same as we do as well.

"We'll see in Australia what we can do," he added. "Now it's time to have fun racing!"

McLaren sporting director Eric Boullier said that the day's outcome showed that the team's "ambitious" approach to the 2018 season was showing promise, despite the reliability setbacks.

“We have an ambitious design around the car," he told reporters. "You can see that the car is a little bit different from the other Renault-engined cars.

"We have to be ambitious. And to be ambitious you have to take risks," he added. "We have not lost our capability of designing fast cars and I hope you will see it on track soon.

"We had only minor issues which were all different," he insisted. "But I think that was because we didn’t do a good job enough to prepare the car.

"A good rebuild of the car for Australia will help us to fix a few issues," Boullier predicted.

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