Azerbaijan GP – Fernando Alonso scored his and McLaren’s first World Championship points of the year on Sunday.
The Spanish driver made the most of a race full of incident and accident to come home P9 on Sunday, having once been up as high as P5. Heading into the race hampered by further, and not completely surprising, engine penalties, Alonso said that he felt more was possible than his eventual finishing position. In one interview given after the race, he said he felt that the race could have been won if McLaren were running a different power unit to the one they have. However, he was still pleased with his first points finish of the season:
“Starting 19th because of our penalties, on one of our least competitive circuits, yet still scoring our first championship points is unreal; a complete surprise.
“The race really came to us through the many retirements and a lot of action. I managed to stay away from the walls, just brushing them here and there.
“Nevertheless, I think we could have fought for a podium finish today – and perhaps even the victory. We were behind Daniel Ricciardo during the first Safety Car period; then Lewis had a problem with his headrest and was forced to pit; Sebastian had a penalty; Kimi (briefly) retired; the two Force Indias touched each other, so we automatically found ourselves in a decent position.
“We missed out on further opportunities because we weren’t quick enough in the race and couldn’t hold on to that position. Still, we got our first two points of the season today, so let’s just take that.”
Honda have confirmed that they intend to race an updated ‘Spec 3’ power unit at the next race in Austria, a track that boasts three long straights and is demanding on power.