Alonso and Vandoorne hit with further penalties after engine change

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Fernando Alonso will start on the back row of the grid after incurring a 40-place grid penalty following a series of power unit component changes, while teammate Stoffel Vandoorne was penalised 30 places for using two sets of new MGU-Hs and turbochargers plus an extra five for a gearbox change ahead of qualifying.

Indeed it is not inconceivable that both McLaren cars will prop up the grid for Sunday's race at a street circuit where overtaking is virtually impossible and top speed is crucial given the main straight here is the longest on the calendar at nearly 1.4 miles.

Hamilton won his first - and McLaren's last - title in 2008 in a Mercedes powered auto.

But despite McLaren's troubled campaign, Alonso's F1 displays have remained impressive, while he also performed well at the Indianopolis 500 race in May.

And while talks are ongoing between McLaren and Honda it is believed that the Woking-based outfit, who have not won a race since Hamilton left in 2012, are keen to return to Mercedes power next season.

However, given that neither McLaren has recorded a top 10 finish so far in 2017, Alonso seemed destined to leave.

But 35-year-old, who has now not won a Grand Prix in more than four years, knows he can not afford to waste more time in an uncompetitive vehicle. They are having a struggle right now, and it does not look like it will change any time soon.

On top of that, the vehicle has performed poorly on track and neither driver made it out of Q1, with Alonso in 16th and Vandoorne 19th and last of the drivers who took part in qualifying.

"In these kinds of grands prix, we need to try and finish the race, get some data for the team, and keep developing the vehicle".

The two manufacturers are both playing catch-up to Mercedes and Ferrari, although Honda has a significantly larger gap to the top two manufacturers than Renault. "We will try to go through the weekend in the best way possible, to perform the best we can, but there are things that are out of our hands".

"He is a great addition to the team and every day he is with us that becomes more clear. That is where he belongs".

"The deficit on the straight here is one of the highest on the calendar so we expect a tough time".

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