Fernando Alonso was a surprise early casualty in qualifying for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix, failing to make the cut at the end of Q1 which means he will start tomorrow’s race from 17th position.

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His team mate Esteban Ocon did manage to scrape through and will start from 11th on the grid, which he described as “probably the best we could do with what we had”. But overall Alonso said that Alpine just didn’t have the speed required on Saturday.

“We didn’t have the pace. I think the whole weekend we’ve been struggling a little bit with the pace,” he admitted afterwards. “We were expecting more from Monaco on our package, and yes – we didn’t deliver.

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“In Portugal and Barcelona we were definitely progressing and being quite competitive, while here we were quite down on the times. So there’s still a little bit under investigation.

“There are still some question marks, I think, for the team to find out,” he agreed. “It’s always a little bit messy in qualifying here as you’re trying to find clear space [but] I don’t think that was the cause for being eliminated in Q1.

Looking on the brighter side, he said: “I think confidence was good, I was able to push the car and extract the maximum,” adding: “The race is going to be difficult starting at the back, no doubt, but let’s see what we can do.”

Alpine’s racing director Davide Brivio admitted that it had been a challenge to find stronger pace from the car this weekend.

“It has been a tough weekend so far as we tried to find more performance from the car,” he said. “It was unfortunate for Fernando not to make Q2. We have made improvements since Thursday, that’s for sure, but now we are in a difficult position as it’s so hard to overtake here.

“Esteban did a great job today and was very close to making it into Q3, missing out by a very small margin,” he added. “Anything can happen in Monaco, though, so we remain positive for the race tomorrow.”

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