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Alonso: 'A difficult weekend saved by the bell'

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McLaren's Fernando Alonso will take any points he can get but the Spaniard wasn't fooled when it came to assessing his team's true performance in Bahrain.

A depressing qualifying session on Saturday had left both Alonso and Vandoorne well outside of the top-ten and in search of the reasons behind their MCl33's poor pace.

The two-time world champion took off at the start with the bit between his teeth however, conducting an impressive first lap and racing consistently thereafter to salvage a seventh-place finish while his team mare completed the points-scoring evening in eighth.

"We fixed it [qualifying] on the opening lap, didn't we?" said Alonso with a smile.

"When I looked in the mirrors and I saw Hamilton behind I thought 'I don't know what position I'm in but it can't be too bad if Hamilton is behind'.

"We were still lacking a bit of pace in the race to be with Hulkenberg and to attack the Haas.

"A pretty difficult weekend saved by the bell at the last moment with two cars in the points and with good points for the team, but we know we have to improve because today was a bit of a coincidence."

Alonso is under no illusion that McLaren's level of performance is not where the team expected it to be at the outset of 2018. The two-time world champion prefers to look at the glass as half-full however, happy as he is with his current tally of championship points.

"The race is not just about car performance. It's about saving fuel, the tyres, the start, the first corner, the first lap... there's a lot more factors and we are usually better on Sundays than on Saturday," he said.

"We know it's been a particularly strange weekend for us. Very hard, too slow, especially in qualifying and we need to improve in the upcoming races because starting from so far back it's complicated.

"But anyway, fifth in Australia, seventh here, 10 points there, six here. We would have taken 16 points before starting the championship in Barcelona, so I'm very happy about that."

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