Alonso: Spa seventh unthinkable

Date published: August 28 2016

Fernando Alonso admits finishing seventh at Spa was an "unthinkable" result, but goes a long way towards showing the progress made by McLaren-Honda.

Starting at the very back of the grid at the high-speed circuit due to engine penalties, Alonso went into Sunday's 44-lap Belgian Grand Prix not expecting much.

He made a great start as he avoided the chaos ahead of him and was up to fourth when the race was red-flagged on Lap 10, even ahead of championship leader Lewis Hamilton.

However, when the grand prix resumed, Alonso began to lose places.

But rather than drop out of the top-ten as some fears would happen, he brought his McLaren-Honda home in seventh place.

"It was an exciting race to drive and I had a good feeling throughout," he revealed.

"We had good pace this weekend; we did better than expected on this track; we were in the top 10 with Jenson yesterday in qualifying; and we’ve scored points today.

"Believe me: a few months ago that would have been unthinkable on a circuit like this. That’s progress – real progress."

And although the double World Champion admits he benefitted from the carnage and red flag, he reckons Sunday's showing is a sign that McLaren can become regular points-scorers.

"After all the bad luck we’ve had so far this weekend, we finally got some good luck today.

"We started last, but we managed to keep away from all the incidents, gain some positions thanks to the Safety Car and then a couple more because of the red flag.

"We then put on fresh tyres and found ourselves in fourth place – and, better still, we had the pace to manage the situation afterwards. Okay, we couldn’t hold back Lewis [Hamilton], Checo [Perez] or Seb [Vettel], because they were just too fast, but we had enough pace to keep Valtteri [Bottas] behind all the way to the flag.

"Finally, it’s great news that we overtook Toro Rosso in the Constructors’ World Championship – I think we can be regularly in the points from now on.

"So, to sum up, this weekend we saw evidence of very good progress from the team; we’re moving in the right direction, that’s for sure."