GRANOLLERS, Spain (AP) — Fernando Alonso is confident he can race freely in Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix despite an ongoing eye infection.
The two-time Formula One champion has been wearing sunglasses during news conferences this weekend because of a stye — which is a swelling — to protect his eyes from artificial light.
The Spaniard, who last won a Formula One race on the same track two years ago, says the infection does not affect his driving.
“There are no problems, so tomorrow should be fine,” Alonso said, adding that his eye is “a bit big.” He did not say which eye was affected.
McLaren has yet to score a point this season, and Alonso will start Sunday’s race from 13th place on the grid. Still, he is hopeful of finally clinching some points.
For the first time this season, both McLaren drivers made it through to Q2, the second part of qualifying.
“We’re definitely unlocking more of the car’s potential, and there’ll be more to come in the next couple of races,” Alonso said. “This is another step forward and I hope we can fight for points tomorrow. I think it’s realistic to look at getting into the top 10, but we need to attack throughout the race.”
Jenson Button, who starts from 14th on Sunday, appeared not to share his teammate’s enthusiasm.
“I really don’t know where we’re going to end up. You look at the (practice) times on Friday and the top 10 were very quick on their long runs,” said Button, the 2009 F1 champion. “So I want what Fernando had for breakfast. Maybe I’d be more positive.”
Button did not even start the last race at the Bahrain GP three weeks ago, as an electrical fault consigned him to the garage.
His car’s pace has improved, but still has other problems.
“One of the (front) brakes is not coming up to temperature, we don’t know why,” Button said.
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