Racing for the first time since his horrific crash at the Australian Grand Prix, McLaren driver Fernando Alonso was thankful that the both cars were able to finish a race without any incidents.
Two weeks ago at the Bahrain Grand Prix, Alonso’s teammate Jenson Button suffered an engine failure and was forced to retire while stand-in McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne claimed the first point for the team in 2016.
Despite not picking up any points again, the two-time World Champion explained that he was happy to be in the car again after being ruled out of the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“Today wasn’t easy,” he said. “We didn’t quite have the pace to record a good result and finish in the points.
“We chose a two-stop strategy and tried to benefit from that, but the early Safety Car didn’t help us, and our race didn’t really work out as planned after that. That’s the way it is, but it’s a shame.
“We need to look in detail at the areas in which we need to improve – we ran among a lot of different cars this afternoon, so we should have some useful reference points from which to gauge our respective strengths and weaknesses.
“On a positive note, today’s race was the first proper long run I’ve completed in this year’s car – I didn’t ever finish a 50-lap stint during testing, and I retired early in Melbourne because of the accident.”
Alonso finished the GP in P12 and was followed closely by Button in P13.
He added: “There’s a long way to go, but we’ll keep improving. I’m already looking forward to the next race.”