ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - SEPTEMBER 06: Tim Cahill of Australia celebrates after scoring his teams first goal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between UAE and Australia at Mohamed Bin Zayed Stadium on September 6, 2016 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)

McLaren driver Fernando Alonso gave it everything he and the car had, plus more, in this afternoon's first qualifying session of the 2017 Formula One season here at the Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, but in the end, all he could muster up was a 13th position for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard underlined his legendary pace by setting the 12th-quickest time in Q1 before setting a best time of 1:25.425 at the end of the Q2 session to finish 13th overall.

He showed all his experience and coupled it with his undiminished natural speed, to carve a perfect lap whose verve and fluidity deserved better than P13. But in truth that's all the McLaren Honda is capable of delivering at the moment, and Fernando produced it all.

“After the difficulties we encountered in winter testing, we came to Melbourne without a clear idea of where we stood. But we've more or less run through all the sessions without trouble – which is better than we'd expected,” he said.

“I had sufficient sets of tyres to be able to enjoy my laps in both Q1 and Q2. I was happy with the balance of the car and was able to really push it. That's useful because, at the moment, we need to extract the maximum out of the package we have.

“Tomorrow we'll start 13th – in the middle of the pack – which is definitely not our target. Finishing the race is going to be tough. And, if we do finish it, to end up in a decent position we'll need help from the weather and for other cars to encounter trouble.”