Fernando Alonso feels McLaren-Honda can take great pleasure from his run to sixth place in the Russian Grand Prix, saying he held down the position on merit and not because of misfortune for others.
Starting 14th on the grid, Alonso made a lightning getaway before successfully avoiding the turn two melee ahead and emerging in seventh position.
From here, Alonso successfully consolidated his form, rising a position to sixth at the expense of the retired Max Verstappen to secure his first points of the season, a result he feels was achieved primarily on competitive pace.
“The first two corners were crazy, but this time we benefited from it! In Turn 2 I went wide to avoid the accident and in Turn 3 I saw one Ferrari facing me, instead of going the right way… I managed to avoid him, avoided all incidents and from then on managed to keep my position to earn some really well deserved points.
“We had a very good pace, I just had to conserve a bit of fuel, because the gaps, in front and behind me, were very big. From that point of view it was a bit of a boring race, but today we were quite competitive and we did the fifth fastest lap of the race, so this result is fully deserved.”
Indeed, the two-time world champion feels the race is a clear indication of how far McLaren-Honda has come with its package since the 2015 Russian Grand Prix, held in October, pointing out that he had a good start on that occasion but quickly slipped out of contention.
The most positive aspect of this weekend was that we were competitive throughout the weekend and in the race too. Last year when we managed to get a good first lap and pass the others they quickly got us back, but today we were competitive and P6 or P7 wouldn't have been back – let's hope we can keep going like this.
“It was a small step forward, now some tracks where engine power counts less, like Barcelona and Monaco, so hopefully we'll be able to get some more points.”