Fernando Alonso thinks McLaren will be running at the very back of the 2017 Formula One grid on current form following his retirement at the Australian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard made a fast start and had been running in 10th for much of the season-opener, until his race was curtailed by an apparent suspension problem. In the closing stages Alonso reported an issue with his MCL32 and found himself quickly passed by Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg, before eventually pulling into retirement with a few laps remaining.
When asked what caused him to stop, the two-time world champion replied: “A suspension failure I think at the end is what happened, and it stopped us finishing the race. It was pretty [race] good I think. I was driving one of my best races so far. We were surprisingly in the points all the race long.
“Also we had to do a huge fuel saving which was hurting us a lot but we were able to keep the position. As I said, a little surprised to be so [high] up but at the end we didn’t finish and definitely we need to be more competitive very soon.”
Stoffel Vandoorne finished 13th and last of the remaining runners in what was a relatively promising performance for McLaren in Melbourne — considering its disastrous pre-season — however, Alonso reckons the Woking-based outfit would be finishing at the back in normal race circumstances.
“I think we are last,” Alonso said. “That’s the performance we have now. We were 10th because the qualifying lap we had yesterday was extremely good. The start I was lucky to gain one position and the Grosjean retirement gave us the second one. I think in normal conditions in the normal circuit we should be last.”