Fernando Alonso has billed his Australian Grand Prix as “probably the best race” of his life as he ran in 10th place despite an uncompetitive car and having to lift to save fuel.
Alonso began Sunday’s Australian Grand Prix from 12th on the grid and made up one place off the line.
He progressed to 10th when Romain Grosjean was forced to retire his Haas and was running inside the points until seven laps before the end when his suspension failed.
That initially allowed Esteban Ocon and Nico Hulkenberg to attack for position with Alonso retiring his MCL32 two laps later.
“It was probably the best race of my life until that moment,” he said.
“Few times I’ve had such an uncompetitive car, without any winter preparation, having to save fuel in a brutal way – I think we had to lift about a second per lap – and even so we were in the points.
“It was a pretty big surprise what we were doing, but in the end we couldn’t complete it. But it was probably one of the best races I’ve had.”
The Spaniard, though, was quick to point out that Sunday’s P10 was not McLaren-Honda’s true pace.
He told Sky Sports: “I think we are last.
“We were ten because the qualifying lap yesterday was extremely good, the start I was lucky to gain one position and Grosjean’s retirement gave us the second one.
“But I think in normal conditions we should be last and before last.”