Fernando Alonso insisted that sixth in the Monaco Grand Prix was more than he expected having been forced to start the race from the pitlane.
The Ferrari driver was left at the rear of the field after his accident in free practice left the team to build on a spare chassis for race day.
An early Safety Car period allowed Alonso to dive into the pits early to change tyres and after battling past the backmarkers, he was in the perfect position to make up additional places when others then pitted to make their stops.
That saw the Spaniard lying in sixth place when the final Safety Car was called out and despite losing a place to Michael Schumacher, Alonso reclaimed sixth when the German was handed a post race penalty for the move.
“This result is a morale booster,” Alonso said afterwards. “To start from pit lane and finish sixth is way more than we could have expected.
“It was a difficult Sunday for me and much of the credit for this result goes to the team, which chose an aggressive strategy and worked hard to build the car for the race, starting from almost zero: to finish a race like this without having problems is the result of a super job. I lived through the initial passing moves with a bit of frustration: when you are behind a slower car and there is no room to pass, it's difficult. Coming out of the tunnel was the best place to do it and some drivers were good about it, others less so. I passed five or six cars on the track and another dozen thanks to a nice strategy.
“On Thursday I only did twelve laps on these tyres and today I did 77 and the car still worked well throughout. It's hard to say what might have been, if I had taken part in qualifying: I was definitely on form and pole was within our reach. We must stay calm and work well: the results will come and it was clear to see today how talented our team is. At the end of the nineteen races in the championship we will see who is strongest. If it's not us, it will mean someone else did a better job, not because we haven't tried our best.”