Fernando Alonso: “This was always going to be a difficult race”

Fernando Alonso - Credit: McLaren Media Centre

After running inside the top ten during the early laps of the European Grand Prix at the Baku Street Circuit on Sunday, Fernando Alonso ultimately was unable to see the chequered flag, with the Spaniard suffering gearbox issues on his McLaren-Honda.

The Spaniard knew before the race that it would be a difficult afternoon for McLaren, especially with the speed deficit they had down the 1.4-mile straight in Baku, but Alonso found it even more tricky by the gearbox gremlins that crept up on his MP4-31, even though at one point he was running as high as ninth.

“This was always going to be a difficult race for us – and that’s made even more difficult when you don’t see the chequered flag,” revealed Alonso.

“We had a developing issue on the gearbox which was getting worse and worse, so we decided to retire the car in order to prevent damage to the power unit or anything else. It’s a shame, but we were running outside the points, so this retirement feels a little less painful.

“The most important thing now is for the team to find a little more pace – for both qualifying and the race.”