Fernando Alonso rates his performance at the United States Grand Prix as 'one of the best races of my life' even though he leaves the Circuit of the Americas pointless.
The McLaren Honda endured a race of multiple highs and lows after being put into a spin in the first corner melee which left him in last place. The Spaniard rallied hard and made strong progress through the order to climb as high as fifth before an electrical issue with his power unit saw his pace drop significantly and was cruelly denied the final points-scoring position after being overtaken on the last lap by Red Bull's Daniel Ricciardo.
Despite the mixed emotions, Alonso says he is delighted with the performance and race pace of the McLaren Honda - contrasting emotions to his team-mate Jenson Button who finished sixth –
and is convinced fifth place would have been his were it not for the electrical bug towards the end.
“I think we would have finished the race in 5th place without the problems, but we ended up nearly last and almost lapped,” Alonso said. “It was certainly one of the best races of my life, but with no points to show at the end. We just lost power in the final laps.
“I think we deserved to be 5th, the car was going really well, we could make up positions, but a problem with the electrics cost me 30 seconds in 12 laps. It's the kind of issue we seem to keep on having, but hopefully we'll keep on learning and be in a better position next year. It looked like we could get a miracle today but then we had the problem, and that was that.”
On reviewing the gains made with the new Honda power unit, Alonso says it is a step in the right direction but a very small one hampered by ongoing faults which he says must be eliminated in 2016.
“The new engine has more performance but we're speaking of just one tenth of a second per lap,” he said. “It was an electrical problem, because the engine would go and then cut, so I don't think it was a mechanical issue. Still we need to investigate it to make sure it doesn't happen again.
“But I go home with the feeling I drove my best race from the last few years and let's hope we can continue like this until the end of the year.”
Alonso's 11th place in the US Grand Prix is his third consecutive P11 after Japan and Russia, demonstrating McLaren Honda's current form is leaving them tantalisingly just outside the points on a regular basis.