Fernando Alonso says having over double the number of F1 championship points compared to this point 12 months ago, despite missing Bahrain through injury, is evidence of the progress made by McLaren-Honda.
After the heavily-scrutinised opening year of the partnership between McLaren and Honda saw the Woking-based squad endure its worst campaign since 1980, the team has slowly but steadily seen improvements as Honda has introduced power unit upgrades throughout 2016.
As a result, Alonso has grabbed three top ten finishes, totalling 24 points, which is over double his total number of points scored (11) in 2015.
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The former two-time F1 world champion is adamant the team still has a long journey of development gains ahead to match the front-runners but is satisfied with the progress over the past 12 months.
“I'm very happy with the way this first part of the season went for us, it's a shame we couldn't get a few more points here with both cars,” Alonso said. “We also lost the opportunity of a double score in Budapest last week, but in the battle with Toro Rosso we gained a few points, so it was a good race and the only downside is that I didn't finish in the points.”
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McLaren now sits just three points behind Toro Rosso in the world constructors' championship heading into the summer break
and Alonso feels he has also missed out on a couple of opportunities to score points as a result of his heavy crash in the Australian GP – with a partially collapsed lung and fractured ribs ruling him out of the Bahrain race.
Stoffel Vandoorne stepped in for Alonso in Bahrain and finished 10th place to claim McLaren's first points of the campaign.
“I only took part in 10 of the 12 races – I had the accident in Australia and couldn't take part in the next race – and scored 24 points, the double of what I score for the whole of last year. We're clearly moving up and that's satisfying,” he said.