McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso was disappointed to miss out on the final points position at the Japanese Grand Prix by such a small margin, but ultimately feels it was a great effort by the team to finish eleventh, having started the race from the back of the grid.
“We started 20th and we finished 11th, with a good recovery, with only one pit-stop, and starting on a used set of tyres.
“That was a pretty huge effort from everyone on the team. After the penalty on Friday night, due to the engine change, I think we deserved that one point – we fought hard for it.”
In the latter stages of the race, Alonso had caught right up to the back of Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa in tenth, and was trying hard to find a way past the Brazilian.
Unfortunately for the Spaniard, luck would not be on his side, and having first of all been foiled by the Virtual Safety Car, the race leaders then began to close in on him with just two laps remaining.
Despite being in the middle of a battle for track position himself, he was forced to move out of their way, after receiving the blue flag warning. That gave Massa a chance to break away again, and ultimately ruined Alonso’s chance of making the pass as the laps dwindled away.
“It was an unlucky situation with Felipe towards the end of the race. He was struggling a lot with his tyres when the Virtual Safety Car came out. That meant he could breathe a little bit during those laps.
“Then, in the last two laps, the leaders of the race caught up with us, and Felipe again missed out on an attack, and ultimately took the point for 10th place.”
Alonso is now looking ahead to the next round in the USA, where he hopes to have a much stronger race, without the handicap of grid penalties.
“We’ll try again in Austin. Hopefully with no penalties. And from our usual grid position. And with some better luck…”