Alonso not surprised with Sainz pace

Fernando Alonso says he is "not surprised" his countryman and friend Carlos Sainz is straight on the pace at Renault.

Sainz switched from Toro Rosso to the French works team after the Japanese grand prix, and on his first attempt outqualified his new teammate Nico Hulkenberg on Saturday.

In fact, Sainz is one position higher on the Austin grid than Alonso, his Spanish compatriot and mentor.

"That Carlos performed very well is not a surprise," Alonso told the Spanish broadcaster Movistar.

"Nothing to say," he added.

"We knew Carlos was going to be good. Next year he will have it more difficult because McLaren will be ahead, but he should enjoy this moment," Alonso smiled.

Indeed, Sainz and Alonso, who drives for McLaren, will each have a Renault power unit in 2018.

Alonso also responded to rumours his new McLaren contract allows him to do non-F1 races, like the Daytona endurance sports car race next January.

"Maybe the next race I will do in the US will be the 24 hours of Daytona," he confirmed.

"The Indy 500 was one of the best races of my life so I'd like to do more races in America and one could be in January. That would be fine," Alonso added.

Alonso's McLaren boss Zak Brown runs a Daytona team, United Autosports.

(GMM)

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