Fernando Alonso felt finishing seventh in the Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday was like a win for the McLaren F1 Team, particularly as all six front-running drivers all saw the chequered flag and suffered no issues.
It was the Spaniard’s fourth seventh place finish of the season but the first since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April, with only four points finishes, all for eighth place, coming his or McLaren’s way in the ten races between then and now.
Despite appearing to be boring from the outside, Alonso was pushing relentlessly to build a gap to his rivals in case of any safety car intervention, but ultimately, he was the only driver not from the leading three teams – Mercedes AMG Petronas Motorsport, Scuderia Ferrari and Aston Martin Red Bull Racing – not to be lapped.
“I’m really happy with seventh position,” said Alonso. “Normally something happens in front of us, but today all six cars ahead finished the race, so P7, behind the top six cars, is a small win for us.
“We executed the race to perfection with a good strategy, we maximised the tyre advantage starting on the purple [Ultrasoft] tyre and then switching to the yellows [Softs], and scored good points for the team, in the end.
“At some point in the race we were also the fastest car on track, and on such a demanding circuit this makes me even happier.
“It was no boring race for me, as we still needed to open some gaps in case of a Safety Car, and we didn’t know when people behind us would stop. So, even though we were alone, it was about controlling the gaps.”
Alonso said the team had higher expectations for Singapore feeling the MCL33 would suit the track more than some of the more recent venues, particularly Spa-Francorchamps and the Autodromo Nazionale Monza, and although he does not expect the same kind of pace in all of the remaining six races of the season, there are still some opportunities to score points coming up.
“We knew coming here that the characteristics of this track would suit our package,” said Alonso. “I think it’s going to be up and down for the remainder of the season, as at some races we’re expecting to be competitive and at some others not so much.
“The target will be scoring points on Sundays and helping the team in the Constructors’ Championship.”