Fernando Alonso says the upgrades McLaren brought to the Spanish Grand Prix aren’t enough for them to start fighting the top teams yet.

A distinctive new nose design was part of a package of upgrades McLaren brought for last weekend’s race. However Alonso said the team’s ambitions are confined to the midfield for now.

“We knew that the upgrades put ourselves in a better position in the midfield pack,” said Alonso. “I think we catch up with Renault and probably with Haas as well.

“But the top three teams, they’re still developing the car at the same rate we do and we keep that gap, unfortunately.”

McLaren fell to fifth behind Renault in the constructors’ championship last weekend. Alonso expects a difficult fight with them over the rest of the season.

“I think it’s going to be tough,” he said. “We did a good step here. We were eight-tenths behind Renault in Baku, nine-tenths behind Renault in China. And here we were the same in qualifying and quite the same in the race.

“So we did a step forward but we know that it’s going to be a big battle until the end and it’s important to score points every race.”

Alonso admitted he thought his points-scoring streak was going to end after the first lap in yesterday’s race.

“We started with the softer tyre because [in] qualifying two we did with a red tyre. The aim was to gain positions in the first couple of laps and then stop very early because we had the softer tyre.

“But we lost positions on the first lap with the incident in turn two. We found ourselves in a very difficult position in lap two, lap three, and I thought it was impossible to get the points.

“Luckily we had a good race, we keep scoring points, five consecutive races in the points, that’s what we wanted and I’m really happy right now.”

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2018 F1 season

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