Fernando Alonso: Indy 500 qualifying preparations going well

Fernando Alonso
Alonso has limited time to learn his new car before racing on a 2.5-mile superspeedway against experienced drivers

Fernando Alonso is confident he will be in good shape for qualifying and the race at the Indianapolis 500 after the second day of practice.

Spain's two-time Formula 1 champion spent Tuesday's test learning about his car's behaviour in traffic on the 220mph+ superspeedway.

"We keep experimenting on set-up and on running in traffic," Alonso said.

"We didn't put everything together - it's not time to. But I think we will arrive OK to qualifying and the race."

The 35-year-old McLaren driver, who is missing the Monaco Grand Prix to compete at Indy on 28 May, completed 117 laps on Tuesday and was 24th fastest out of 33 runners with an average speed of 221.029mph.

The fastest time was set by Penske driver Will Power in 224.656mph, with the benefit of a slipstream - or 'tow' - behind another car.

Speaking at a news conference before the third practice day on Wednesday, Alonso said: "I'm happy where I am now, but definitely not comfortable.

"So yesterday, especially thanks to the traffic running, I think I was much more comfortable, happier with the position we are now. (But there's) still a lot to come.

"I listen to these guys every day of what they feel, what they test, and I try to replicate the following day, try to have the same feelings of what they have."

Alonso said he was "starting" to understand the effect of set-up changes and added: "I'm not ready yet, but I think I will be for qualifying and the race."

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'Everything went fine' - Alonso happy with Indy 500 practice

Preparing the car so it runs competitively in the company of other cars is crucial to success at Indy.

Alonso said that running in traffic "felt as I expected" after his Andretti Autosport team used its five other drivers to help him develop a feel for the experience.

"Obviously, here it is very important to keep close to the car in front of you to take the benefit on the next straight, so it was useful," he said.

"I'm on the best team for that. We are six cars and we were running together. My team-mates were amazing helping me. I knew they were taking care of me in some moments of the run, so that was good.

"It's the first time for me, learning here and there every lap when I follow them, what they do, how they attack the next corner or the next lap, how they prepare the overtaking."

Alonso has three more days of practice this week before qualifying at the weekend.

Saturday is used primarily to determine a 'fast nine' drivers who then compete on Sunday for pole and the other eight leading grid positions.

The remaining 24 drivers also qualify on Sunday, but are competing for the places from 10th to 33rd.

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