Fernando Alonso insists that he will remain optimistic despite another tough afternoon at the wheel of his McLaren-Honda in the Belgian Grand Prix.

The Spaniard finished a lapped 13th after a mid-season Honda upgrade failed to produce enough of a power gain for the largely flat-out Spa-Francorchamps circuit, but again maintained that he could see progress in the partnership's future.

"It was a tough race as we expected," he said, having been sent to the back of the grid by multiple engine change penalties, "On the first lap, I passed 6-7 cars so it was a good first lap but, after that, the pace wasn't quick enough and we dropped slowly to our natural position.

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"There are two ways you can approach this - be optimistic and try to work with the team for a better situation, or be pessimistic and think it is not worth doing anything. I don't think that will be exit from this tunnel, so we will try to work. I think things are going better and better - we finished the race with both cars and, hopefully, we learned some stuff for the next round."

Admitting that there had been no 'big difference' to the Honda V6 on a circuit where power is key, Alonso's race was briefly enlivened by a scrap with a brake-hampered Felipe Nasr, but he acknowledged that his afternoon had hardly been thrilling.

"Obviously there are minor steps in F1 so, whenever you put in whatever number of horsepower, you feel a little bit quicker but, when you are so far back, it is never enough," he sighed, "But, slowly, we will put things in the right direction and become more competitive."

Asked whether a photo doing the rounds of the paddock, which showed him exiting the Red Bull motorhome after qualifying, hinted at a change of scene in future, Alonso laughed, explaining that he had merely been visiting his former Renault engineer, Paul Monaghan, to discuss Honda power units for a boat the Briton is building...