Fernando Alonso labels Azerbaijan GP one of his best-ever races after double puncture recovery
Alonso seventh for third consecutive race despite double puncture on lap one; Spaniard calls for midfield drivers to calm down in opening laps
By Jonathan Green
Last Updated: 29/04/18 6:35pm
Fernando Alonso believes he had one of his best-ever races at the Azerbaijan GP after recovering from a double puncture on lap one to finish seventh.
The Spaniard looked to be set for a DNF after having both of his right tyres punctured by Sergey Sirtokin's Williams.
Alonso managed to limp back to the pits, narrowly avoiding running into the wall on entry, and despite major damage to his car's floor was able to finish seventh for the third consecutive grand prix.
"P7 is an unbelievable result, probably one of the best races I have ever done," Alonso said.
"In the lap-one incident we destroyed the car. Two punctures, we damaged the floor, we damaged the front wing, we damaged everything.
Pinchazos y coche dañado en la primera vuelta. 7o y más puntos en la bandera a cuadros. Carrera q estoy orgulloso debido a la dificultad— Fernando Alonso (@alo_oficial) April 29, 2018
Punctures and a damaged car in the first lap. Seventh and more points on the checkered flag. A race that I’m proud due to the difficulty of it pic.twitter.com/hjapJ7N1Uo
"I thought it was a DNF but because of the Safety Car we kept running with significant damage and, for whatever reason, we found ourselves very competitive."
Alonso was furious on team radio following the incident, shouting: "Unbelievable. You take care in corner one and corner two and they crash into you. ****ing stupid."
And the two-time world champion called for drivers in the midfield pack to be more careful in the opening laps of races rather than go gung-ho for moves early on.
"For me it could be managed in a different way. The first lap, when you are starting in the middle of the group, people don't lift off," he told Sky Sports F1.
"In a situation that you will crash, they prefer to crash with you rather than lifting off.
"There were three cars closing and no one lifted off. I was on the inside and I took two flat tyres."
Alonso's seventh combined with Stoffel Vandoorne's ninth place ensured McLaren retained fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.
It was another Sunday recovery after a disappointing Saturday for the team in which Alonso had qualified 13th and Vandoorne 16th and the Spaniard said the result was fresh motivation ahead of the Spanish GP.
"The weekend has not been great for us but to finish both McLarens in the points is a great result for us and gives us motivation for the next race," he said.
"The race pace was great. My car was heavily damaged but even with that we could fight with other teams."
McLaren's 2018 performances
|Qualifying result||Gap to Q3||Race result||Gap to podium|
|Fernando Alonso||13th||0.203s||7th||Lap down to leaders|
|Stoffel Vandoorne||14th||0.516s||8th||Lap down to leaders|
|Stoffel Vandoorne||16th||0.130s off Q2 spot||9th||10.0128s|
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