Fernando Alonso hit out at the “alarming power deficit” he feels McLaren-Honda has compared to the rest of the field after finishing eighth at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Having jumped up to fifth at the start of the race, Alonso lost position to Felipe Massa immediately at the Safety Car restart and spent the rest of Sunday’s race behind the Williams. Reflecting on the lack of straight line speed that McLaren has, Alonso suggested the team needs to see if it can set the chassis up better to compensate for Honda’s lack of power.
“Both in Mexico and [Brazil] the engine was incredibly slow,” Alonso said. “And we need to see if we’re doing something wrong with the chassis as well, because even with DRS, Felipe was pulling away. So I’m sure we have an alarming power deficit.”
With the pair having been passed by the recovering Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo, they then had Sergio Perez closing in late on and Alonso explained he used the Williams to help protect his own position.
“For sure I had to defend more than to attack. I was trying to pass Massa but it was the same as in Mexico, when I had Hamilton behind me but I had DRS because I was right behind [Kevin] Magnussen and I could defend my position on the straight.
“When Checo was coming up I knew I could have a bit of a shield if I stayed close to Felipe to open the DRS, so we could defend the position but it’s a shame we have this doubly incredible power deficit.
“Even with the entire deployment, with DRS and full revs they still go away from you on the straights, I think the gap today was 25kph [15mph], with DRS that becomes 40 or 50kph [25-31mph] so it’s really incredible that we managed to beat a few cars.”
The result marks back-to-back top-ten finishes for Alonso for the first time this season, and he said it is a welcome reward after poor reliability in previous races.
“I was up to fifth after Turn 1 and really wanted to stay up there, but the speed deficit on the straights is impressive even in these last few races. We tried to defend our position and, in the end, these points are to be cherished, after all the points we lost due to reliability issues so I’m very happy to get a couple of points.
“It was a great fight, a great race from the start. We deserved the points, shame we’re lacking in straight line speed because the pace was really competitive, faster than the cars we were battling with, who were much quicker down the straights.”