Fernando Alonso admits that he's disappointed by Aston Martin finishing fifth in the constructors' championship, insisting that the team had deserved more and had performed better than that result suggests.
Alonso and Aston had a brilliant start to the season. He was on the podium in six of the first eight races of the season in a massively improved AMR23 that caught rival teams completely by surprise.
After finishing as runner-up in Canada, Alonso was in third place in the drivers championship and only nine points behind Red Bull's Sergio Perez. Aston was in third place in the constructors standings behind Red Bull and Mercedes.
But the team's initial electric pace tailed off over the summer and he was on the podium on only two further occasions in the Netherlands and Brazil, and failed to finish for the first time this year in the US and Mexico.
It meant that Ferrari and McLaren both managed to catch and pass Aston Martin in the standings, leaving Aston in fifth after the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
“Fifth in the constructors, it hurts a little bit because I think we were better than that,” Alonso told the media in Yas Marina after the race. “We were hoping better than that at the beginning of the year."
On the other hand, finishing in seventh place on Sunday meant he tied with Charles Leclerc in the drivers championship, and by virtual of 'countback' of results throughout the season he was duly awarded fourth in the standings.
"When I saw Leclerc P2 on the big screen, I thought that he was in front,” Alonso admitted. “But apparently we tied on points and he had more third places or something like that.
“To finish fourth is a little bit of unreal, fighting with the guys that we were fighting,” he said. "This is completely unexpected, completely unreal to be fourth
“In fact, if we are fifth in the constructors’ then normally you should be ninth and 10th in the drivers’ [championship]," he pointed out
“It has been a historic season for Aston Martin and for myself,” he continued. “Eight podiums, more than 200 points - I think 300 points nearly for the team – 12 months ago, this was unthinkable.
"2012 and this season for me are the best in my career and a position that I could never imagine at the beginning of the year or with the car performance we had," he said. "It’s a dream season for many at Aston Martin, including myself.”
However it's not a dream outcome for his team mate Lance Stroll. While Alonso finished the season on 206 points, Stroll contributed only 74 points across the campaign which is why Aston Martin finished relatively 'out of position'.
Stroll hailed Alonso's performance since joining the team from Alpine at the beginning of the year. “He’s had an incredible season, for sure,” said the Canadian.
“All those podiums, and he's just been super-strong all year and really capitalised when the car was at its best," he explained. “As a team I think just we lost out of a bit in the second half of the season for a big chunk.
"Teams that we were quicker than - McLaren, even Mercedes, Ferrari – we were quicker than them a lot of those races, but they picked up their game and finished the season stronger than us.
“I think next year [we have to] try and come out with a car that’s very strong again out of the box, and then try and maintain that throughout the season a little bit stronger. I think that’s the goal.”