The Spaniard lapped 1.899s off Lewis Hamilton's Barcelona pole position time to match the best qualifying position of his second stint at McLaren even though he lost all of Friday's first free practice session to an engine failure.
"They work so much, they changed so many power units in the first races", Alonso told Sky Sports. Despite an interruption due to a red flag to clear debris out on track, Stoffel completed 36 laps without any issues, and once again finished the session in P13.
Alonso, whose engine failed on his way to the grid in Russia, said that his problem on Friday was "in a way not a surprise", adding: "In Russia on Sunday we could not manage to complete the formation lap and here we would not complete the out lap". At least I managed to get some training done - when I heard I had two hours before the next commitment I made a decision to do just that.
"I said yesterday that some weekends start on a good way then everything goes in the wrong direction and some other weekends starts wrong and by whatever point of the weekend gets right - I had that feeling yesterday". I've had very little time in the last few weeks to train, and my dedication is still 100 per cent on my fitness and my preparation. Towards the end of the session, when we put in more fuel and we were running in similar conditions to everyone else, we were doing more or less the lap time we were expecting, close to our main competitors for the race. Friday was a hard day also with another failure so you know, it's not that you go tomorrow and you are 100 per cent confident but I'm pretty sure that we keep learning with the things which are happening to the auto so at least I have a good feeling for tomorrow.
"I will race the Indy 500, one of the biggest races in the world", Alonso said.
Alonso marked a cautiously optimistic tone about the race on Sunday, when his vehicle will have a much tougher test of its more than questionable reliability.
"But we could be right behind them in terms of chassis".
"We will see what we can do tomorrow from here". "Today was the one of those days when everything went well".
Yusuke Hasegawa: "Today was unfortunately a tough day for Fernando at his home grand prix". It is nothing we can change.
"I always enjoy coming to the circuit to drive, even if at the moment we really don't have the chance to race".
"Today was a attractive day, a attractive qualifying, in which we were finding tenth after tenth". "Better than we thought!"