Formula 1

Fernando Alonso: “In terms or pure performance, we couldn’t really do much”

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Fernando Alonso - McLaren F1 Team - Sochi Autodrom
Credit: Pirelli Motorsport

Fernando Alonso admitted fourteenth was probably the position they deserved to finish in the Russian Grand Prix on Sunday, with the performance of the MCL33 not strong enough to do any better or challenge for the points.

The McLaren F1 Team racer, who will leave Formula 1 at the end of the season, started sixteenth on the grid thanks to an engine penalty but despite an early pit stop gamble, he could not make the kind of gains he was hoping for, and it left him well adrift of the pack and without an opportunity for a top ten result.

“It was quite a long race for us today,” said Alonso.  “We were the only one with two sets of Soft tyres so we stopped very early trying to undercut some people and push them to pit early too, and some did.

“But the yellow-banded tyre behaved with no issues throughout the whole race, so our strategy didn’t turn out as well as we might have hoped.

“In terms or pure performance, we couldn’t really do much. Unfortunately, today there weren’t any retirements or Safety Cars, so fourteenth was the position we deserved.

“No points for us today. Let’s look ahead to Japan – hopefully we can score some there…”

Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne was equally frustrated with the result, finishing as he did down in sixteenth, although he was able to make a late race pass on Carlos Sainz Jr. after the Spaniard found himself wrong-footed whilst allowing the leaders through to lap him.

“This was more or less what we expected before the start of the race,” said Vandoorne.  “There weren’t really any incidents, and there weren’t too many overtakes for us.

“I had a bit of fun at the beginning with both Williams drivers; then with Carlos at the end, whom I managed to overtake, but apart from that it was a very lonely race for me.

“I think we pitted later than was really optimal: I lost about 10 seconds on the track, and it was impossible to make that time back during the race.”

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