Published: Thu, May 18, 2017
Sport | By Gary Shelton

Alonso: First lap off didn't cost McLaren points

Alonso: First lap off didn't cost McLaren points

The Spaniard hoped that his performance would lift spirits within the McLaren-Honda camp after a hard start to the season, adding: "I'm happy for the team as well because they work so much".

It marked the latest in a succession of lows for the double world champion who has failed to reach the chequered flag in any of the four grands prix staged so far this season.

Later passed by Marcus Ericsson's Sauber, Alonso made an additional stop for fresh soft tyres and then charged from 15th to 12th in the closing laps, but felt the race's events proved he had been in for a tough afternoon regardless of the start clash.

"It's not my reputation, it's theirs (Honda's) - and it's their money, and their image", he said. "But we will try next time".

Jenson Button will stand in as Alonso's replacement at McLaren-Honda in Monaco alongside Stoffel Vandoorne.

"The engine was not good enough", Alonso said.

Alonso will miss the Monaco Grand Prix in a fortnight's time as he heads to the United States for the Indianapolis 500.

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The problems are mounting for Honda as attention already begins to focus on the driver market for next year.

I preferred to do sports, because I wanted to be ready if the auto was, said Alonso. He says he will not take a decision until September or October. Towards the end of the session, when we put in more fuel and we were running in similar conditions to everyone else, we were doing more or less the lap time we were expecting, close to our main competitors for the race. "If we can not, he will leave".

Asked whether he was confident he would be starting and finishing on Sunday, the 35-year-old was unwilling to tempt fate.

Honda is still investigating the exact cause of Alonso's failure, and its F1 engine chief Yusuke Hasegawa explained that an order for the Spaniard to stop the auto after telemetry data showed a warning came too late.

"But the race is tomorrow - they don't give points on Saturday, so we need to prepare a good strategy, a good start tomorrow and execute it well and take some points".

"We've seen other engine manufacturers make significant progress over the season, as you saw with Renault a couple of years ago, where they started and where they ended up".

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