Fernando Alonso believes that both McLaren drivers could have scored their first points of the year in the Monaco Grand Prix, instead of just Jenson Button.
The Spaniard was tailing his team-mate through the middle part of the race when another mechanical issue struck his MP4-30, sending him slithering into the Ste Devote run-off area. At the time, the pair had been running eighth and ninth, with Button going onto claim a welcome four points in the same position at the end.
“I think it was a gearbox problem – the car started to upshift really strangely on that last lap and then, at the first corner, I had no braking, the car stayed in neutral and I could not fit any gear in,” Alonso reported, “We need to make sure if it’s the gearbox physically or a sensor or something else that makes the gearbox crazy, but unfortunately we could not finish the race.
“The cars were running eighth and ninth, so it looked like first points of the season for us but, unfortunately, we missed the opportunity. Hopefully, we can improve the situation next time – we have to make sure this doesn’t happen again.”
Alonso’s race had already started dramatically, with a first lap clash with Nico Hulkenberg sending the Force India driver into the barriers at Mirabeau and earning Alonso a penalty, which he served unknowingly at his lone pit-stop. Once the team had explained why there had been a five-second delay before his next set of tyres was fitted, Alonso was able to reflect on whether the punishment had been justified.
“No, of course not,” he claimed, “In that moment, I don’t know what I can do – I’m on the inside of corner five and he’s on the outside. It’s a but optimistic and we had contact, which, in Monte Carlo, can happen because two cars are difficult to pass in one corner, so no penalty to any of the cars would probably be the normal thing, but these decisions are sometimes random.
“Normally, on the outside you have to back off and I don’t know what I can do – be invisible or something? As it happened, [the penalty] made no difference to me as I stopped from P9 to make the tyre change and I rejoined in P9, so there wasn’t any consequence.”
The DNF was Alonso’s first in the Principality since 2004, but he insisted that he cared little for the record.