Alonso: McLaren scored Sochi points on merit

© XPB 

Fernando Alonso insists McLaren-Honda claimed a double points finish at the Russian Grand Prix on merit, though the Spaniard admits he was “lucky” in the first-lap chaos.

Starting from 14th on the grid, Alonso immediately jumped to seventh as rivals around him get caught up in the turn two melee. Max Verstappen’s engine failure later promoted him to P6, with the double world champion picking up his first points since Hungary last year.

“I feel happy, we deserve the points finally after some unlucky situations,” Alonso said. “The pace was very good. We were lucky at the start and recovered some places after the accidents but then the car performed quite well and we did not have any threat from behind.

“We saw last year that when we made good starts we could not retain the position so today was different because we had the pace.

“I think we did the fifth fastest lap of the race so sixth is the position we deserve and I’m happy with the way things are going.”

McLaren-Honda was braced for a tough race at a power-sensitive track like Sochi but for Alonso, Sunday’s performance in Russia, which also saw team-mate Jenson Button in the points, shows the team is ready to revisit its ambitions.

“We’re more and more competitive every race so let’s hope to get some more points in Barcelona and Monaco.”

“Qualifying was disappointing but to be in the points regularly should be the target from now on.

“The potential is there. There are some circuits coming now that will suit our car even better and we have some high expectations. Hopefully, we execute these well and maximise the results again.”

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AS IT HAPPENED: 2016 Russian Grand Prix

Breakfast with ... Martin Brundle

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