McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team Racing Director, Eric Boullier, was in awe of driver Fernando Alonso’s determination and commitment during the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix, despite the limitations of the MCL32 package, showing he still has plenty of fight left in him.
The Spaniard finished the race in eighth place, but was agonisingly close to taking seventh from Williams Martini Racing driver Felipe Massa, who he battled with lap on lap during his final stint.
In the end, Alonso ran out of laps to make a move stick, and with Sahara Force India F1 Team driver Sergio Perez hounding him from behind, he held the Mexican off well to secure eighth spot, in what Boullier described as “a fantastic display of controlled, hard-driving”.
“Fernando’s performance was a timely reminder of just what a competitive animal he remains.
“When he was given the green-light from the strategists to attack Massa, he was utterly relentless, driving each lap as if it were a qualifying lap, and narrowing the gap on a lap-by-lap basis.
“Even if pulling off an overtake might have been tricky, given the limitations of our package, that did nothing to deter him, and I’m sure he could have made it happen given a handful more laps.
“It was a fantastic spectacle to watch, and, I’m sure, terrific fun in the cockpit. Bravo, Fernando.”
Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne did not enjoy such a thrilling ride however, as he was taken out of the race by Haas F1 Team driver Kevin Magnussen as they exited Turn 2, before the end of the first lap.
The Dane squeezed the McLaren driver as they both tried to make the corner, perhaps not realising that Red Bull Racing driver Daniel Ricciardo was on the other side of Vandoorne, giving the Belgian nowhere to go, in what was a ridiculous manoeuvre in Boullier’s eyes.
“Stoffel was incredibly unlucky. He’d made a great start, was making progress, then got side-swiped by Kevin Magnussen at the exit of Turn Two.
“It was a pointless collision, and Stoffel was entirely the victim. Still, he’d enjoyed a solid weekend until that moment, and will hit back in the final race in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight’s time.”