McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Fernando Alonso was pleased with the squad’s overall performance at this weekend’s 2017 Mexican Grand Prix, finishing in the points despite starting from the back of the grid.
The Spaniard said the MCL32 felt good all weekend, but the lack of speed on the straights made it extremely difficult for him to make a move on anyone, or defend when the pressure came from those behind.
That meant other drivers held up the double world champion for a good chunk of the race, and he was left wasting valuable time just trying to get by, with even a Sauber causing him delays at one stage.
Towards the end of the grand prix, Alonso was in a battle for eighth place with Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen, but as he got close, the Spaniard was then forced to back out as pressure was coming from Mercedes AMG Petronas Formula One Team driver Lewis Hamilton behind.
The chance to overtake the Dane was gone, and with the power deficit to the Mercedes, Hamilton soon made his way by despite the Spaniard’s best efforts.
“Overall it was a good race, considering we started at the back of the grid, and we finished in the points. The car felt very nice all weekend – strong in the corners, and we had good handling and good balance throughout the race.
“We lacked a little bit of straight-line speed to attack or defend, so we were stuck behind a Sauber for half of the race and then we could not pass [Kevin] Magnussen for many laps.
“As soon as we lost the DRS with him we became very vulnerable, so in the end I think there was nothing we could do to keep Lewis [Hamilton] behind.”
Alonso of course, was never going to give up the place easily, and some of the best wheel-to-wheel action you would hope to see then ensued, as the pair went wheel to wheel for track position. The superior machine eventually won out, and the Brit was able to get by and pull away, it was a battle the Spaniard enjoyed being a part of nonetheless.
“We fought hard, trying to brake a little bit later every time and defend the position, but we couldn’t manage to keep ninth place and save that point. It was a good battle but it’s hard when you don’t have the same car. “
This weekend’s performance at the Mexican Grand Prix was a positive one for McLaren and Alonso, who now hope for more of the same will be possible at the next round in Brazil.
“We now head to Brazil – let’s try to score some more points.”