Fernando Alonso felt pleased to finish Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix in fifth place, believing it to act as proof that McLaren is moving in the right direction.
Alonso scored his first points of the season in Russia at the beginning of the month, and arrived in Monaco hopeful of adding to his haul at a track where the deficiencies of McLaren’s Honda engine would not be so punishing.
Starting ninth, Alonso made a good start before making up more ground in the pit stops to run fifth after all of the drivers had switched from wet to dry tires.
Alonso was then able to hold back Nico Rosberg for the remainder of the race to secure P5 and 10 points for McLaren.
“In terms of driving and concentration, today’s was an extremely tough race,” Alonso said.
“We started behind the safety car – with almost zero visibility – then switched to inters; but nobody had done any laps on those tyres before the race, so it was unknown territory for everyone.
“Once we’d switched to dry-weather tires, there was still only a very narrow dry line on the track, so if you went just half a centimetre off that line, you’d crash. There was just no room for mistakes today.
“Nonetheless, we got a good result – both cars in the points ought to make us reasonably happy. I think we’re progressing well: the results make it quite obvious what we’re achieving, so we’re heading in the right direction.
“We’re still not where we want to be – right at the front, fighting for wins and podiums – but I’m happy about how things are going.”
Teammate Jenson Button finished the race ninth to secure McLaren a double points haul in Monaco.
“My car felt almost undriveable during the wet opening laps – we were struggling to get heat into the rear tires, and were locking the rear wheels whenever we hit the brakes, which was a bit scary,” Button said.
“I boxed for inters at probably the right time – that first-call was the trickier one. I feel I’m pretty good at making those tire calls, but, on such a short lap, and when everybody else follows suit, it didn’t make too much difference. Then I got stuck behind Pascal’s [Wehrlein] Manor, which I couldn’t overtake.
“I think we made the right calls in terms of strategy, but lost out a little with the attendant traffic – which I couldn’t help – but the team made some good calls nonetheless.
“We wouldn’t have scored this many points if it’d been dry, so it’s good to get a decent haul today.”