Fernando Alonso views seventh place in the Singapore Grand Prix as “a small win” for McLaren after finishing best of the rest in a race with little in the way of drama.
Singapore often throws up unpredictable races and a high retirement rate, and the same appeared likely to occur on Sunday when Esteban Ocon crashed out on the opening lap. However, that was the only time the Safety Car was required and the only retirement, and Alonso says his rise from 11th on the grid to finish seventh carries additional weight as a result.
“Really happy with seventh,” Alonso said. “Normally something happens in front of us, but all six cars finished. So P7 is a small win for us. We executed the race to perfection. Good strategy, tire selection, and good points.
“We still had to open some gaps in case of Safety Cars and things like that. We didn’t know when people behind us could stop, so we were opening the gap. It was a race, even if we were alone — we were controlling some of the gaps in front and behind. It was not that boring.”
Keen to praise McLaren’s overall performance as a team, Alonso says the level of competitiveness was largely track-specific but gives confidence there can be similar results between now and the end of the season.
“We executed the race the best way we could, maximized the tire advantage starting with the purple (ultrasofts) and then the stint on the yellow (softs). The car was behaving very well. We are P7 behind the top 6, so a small win for us and a lot of points for the team. Additionally we were the fastest car on track at some points so that make me happy on this difficult circuit.
“The car is exactly the same as previously. So, it is just track characteristics that are better for our package. It is going to be up and down for the remaining races. Some of the races maybe we are competitive, some others maybe not so much. But the target will be to keep scoring points and help the team in the constructors’ championship.”
McLaren remains sixth in the standings after Alonso’s result, but has now pulled 26 points clear of Force India and to within 18 points of Haas in fifth as both teams failed to score in Singapore.