Fernando Alonso says he took 'uncomfortable' risks in Monaco GP qualifying

Fernando Alonso was pipped to pole by Max Verstappen in Monaco's thrilling qualifying session. Peter Fox/Getty Images

MONACO -- Fernando Alonso said he took "uncomfortable" levels of risk while fighting for pole position at the Monaco Grand Prix on Saturday.

The Aston Martin driver qualified second, just 0.084s off Max Verstappen's Red Bull on pole, and will start alongside the reigning champion on Sunday's grid.

During the session he radioed his team to say he was driving like "an animal" and briefly looked set to take pole before Verstappen improved dramatically in the final sector of his final lap.

"I think both laps in Q3 we were increasing the level of risk to an uncomfortable level," Alonso said. "I think both laps were a little bit over the limit sometimes but everything went fine, last sector seems our weakest part of the circuit, I think already final practice we were eighth quickest there, so maybe there is something going on there we need to analyse a bit."

Although he was tantalisingly close to his first pole position since the 2012 German Grand Prix, Alonso said he was still satisfied with second on the grid.

"I think even if it feels very close to pole position, we have to be happy. We came here with some concerns about our performance on Saturdays, we seem very good on Sundays and taking care of the tyres, degradation is good on our car, but we struggle a bit on street circuits to put the temperature to hit the lap in Q3. But we are starting the first row of the grid in Monaco so I think it's job done today."

Monaco is a notoriously difficult track to overtake at -- meaning securing pole position is often a big step towards winning -- but Alonso said he would not try anything too ambitious at the start of the race to try to get ahead of Verstappen.

"I think I risked enough today!" he joked. "So tomorrow we will try to finish the race to see the chequered flag, try to take the maximum points.

"If there is a normal Monaco race we should be on the podium, more or less secure in the positions we see here in this moment, and if there is an opportunity or a mechanical failure for Max or bad pit stop or lucky strategy we will take it.

"But it's not that coming from our side we risk a little bit more or less and then we will have a chance to win, there's no way you will overtake anyone. It's just avoiding a mistake, which sounds a boring race from Sundays in Monaco, and from the outside it looks easy, but it is still extremely difficult to keep he car in good shape for the 78 laps."