Fernando Alonso called the Singapore Grand Prix “a boost” for the McLaren F1 Team‘s morale after they managed to see both cars as classified finishers for the first time since the German Grand Prix two months ago.
Alonso’s seventh place at the Marina Bay Street Circuit also saw McLaren register their first points since the Spaniard’s eighth place in Hungary. Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne took twelfth last time out, ending a streak of three successive retirements.
The result, partnered with Esteban Ocon, Sergio Pérez and Kevin Magnussen all failing to score, ensured that Alonso moved back into the top ten of the Drivers’ Championship and closed the gap to seventh placed man Nico Hülkenberg.
To aid his cause, Alonso could do without a repeat of his troubles at the Russian Grand Prix last year. The 37-year-old came to an embarrassing halt on the formation lap due to an electrical issue and failed to start a race for the first time since injury ruled him out of the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix.
Alonso quipped that the reversion of the race on the schedule to its previous late mid-season slot and his misfortune 17 months ago means that it feels “like a long time” since he last raced at the Sochi Autodrom.
“It feels like a long time since we last raced in Russia as the race was much earlier on the calendar last year,” Alonso said.
“It also feels longer for me since I didn’t make the start due to reliability issues, so I’m looking forward to finally racing in Sochi again.
“Last weekend was definitely a boost for everyone,” he continued.
“We have had at least one DNF over the last few races, so crossing the line with both cars was positive, and something we need to keep working on every race. It was great to get points too, and the aim is always to keep scoring at every possible opportunity.”
The double-world champion did cede that some of the upcoming races in the later stages of the 2018 season will not be as kind as Singapore was to the McLaren package. Undeterred, Alonso said that McLaren are still “pushing hard” to secure their first top five finish in the Constructors’ Championship in four years.
“We know some of the coming races won’t be as favourable to us as Singapore, and there will be tracks that won’t suit our car as much,” the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans winner mused.
“With every race we’re pushing hard, learning a lot and trying to maximise what we have. Sochi is a fun circuit with a very interesting and unique layout with its 90-degree corners, so let’s see how our car performs there.”