Fernando Alonso felt his French Grand Prix was compromised as early as the first lap as he fell down the order as others too short cuts to avoid the chaos ahead of them, while pitting early failed to give him any advantage in strategy.
The McLaren F1 Team was outside the points when he pitted a second time towards the end of the race at the Circuit Paul Ricard, with the gamble aimed at attempting to set the fastest lap of the race.
Unfortunately, circumstances was against him in the final laps, first when the virtual safety car was required when Lance Stroll’s tyre blew at the end of the Mistral Straight, and then when he suffered a suspension problem that forced him into an early retirement with a couple of laps to go.
“I started this race on the back-foot, losing positions at the start as I avoided a lot of accidents around me,” said Alonso. “Too many cars ahead of me took a short-cut, but I stayed on track and ended up last.
“I was still last after the Safety Car period, had a problem with overheating brakes, then used one set of tyres while running in traffic for nearly the whole race. Then, at the end, I had to retire with a suspension problem.”
Alonso remains optimistic that McLaren’s form can improve, and he hopes the uncompetitive performance shown in France is a just one-off and they can show better pace in the forthcoming races in Austria and Great Britain in the next two weeks.
“In five days’ time, we have another opportunity to forget today and raise our game,” said the Spaniard. “I really hope this weekend was a one-off and that we’ll show better form at Spielberg and, in particular, at Silverstone.
“I know there are some new things coming over the next few months, and I’m still quite optimistic in spite of us being uncompetitive this weekend.”