Fernando Alonso was happy how his Singapore GP panned out. He reckons that McLaren executed the race in a perfect way to score crucial points.
The Spaniard started the race on the ultrasoft tyres, with a free choice having qualified 11th. He quickly made up two spots to be ninth overtaking Renault’s Nico Hulkenberg and benefiting from the crash of Racing Point Force India’s Esteban Ocon.
He then stuck to the task and went deep in the race on those tyres while having to manage the gaps from the driver ahead and behind. He was further helped when Force India’s Sergio Perez had the tangle while Sauber’s Marcus Ericsson held up Renault’s Carlos Sainz.
The coast was then clear for Alonso to see-through the race in seventh – his and the team’s first points in the second half of the season to create some gap between them (58) and Force India (32), who couldn’t score any points.
“I am really happy with seventh,” he said to the media. “Normally something happens in the front but all the six cars finished the race and so P7 is a small win for us and lot of points for the team. I am happy for that.
“We executed the race in perfection with good strategy and good tyre selection. We still had to open some gaps for safety car and so on. Obviously, we didn’t know when people behind us could stop, so we were opening the gaps.
“Even when we were alone, we were controlling some of the gaps in front and behind and so it [the race] was not that boring. We knew coming here that the characteristics of this track would suit our package.
“I think it’s going to be up and down for the remainder of the season, as at some races we’re expecting to be competitive and at some others not so much,” he explained. Teammate Stoffel Vandoorne also had a fighting race to finish 12th.
The Belgian went deep in the race but was stuck behind Ericsson who also went for a late stop. Towards the end, he was within touching distance of the Swede, but couldn’t get by as he had to defend from Haas’ Romain Grosjean.
“We were quick and actually had good pace when it mattered in that first stint, especially when the pit window opened,” he said. “We decided to go long on the first stint, and that’s how we recovered a few places.
“The tyres didn’t feel so great by the time we pitted, but we more or less had the pace to maintain that same rhythm. The others were getting blue flags so they were losing a lot of time, and that’s what mattered.”
The Woking-based team was particularly happy that Alonso could clock the fastest lap of the race at one point before Haas’ Kevin Magnussen went for a late stop for hypersoft and blew away the lap record.