- Malaysian GP - Race
Mixed feelings for Alonso after retirement with ERS issue
Fernando Alonso was left with "mixed feelings" following the Malaysian Grand Prix after he retired from his McLaren-Honda debut on the 21st lap of the race with an ERS cooling problem.
Alonso missed the opening round in Australia following a concussion he sustained in pre-season testing, so this week's race was his first true taste of the McLaren-Honda this season. However, as his old team Ferrari romped to victory in the heat of Sepang, Alonso climbed as high as eighth before stopping with the ERS issue.
"[I have] mixed feelings," Alonso said after stepping out of the car. "I'm happy to be back and very happy with the progress that the team has made in two weeks. Watching the race on the TV in Australia, we were very far off - four seconds in the race and just one McLaren running alone at the back. Here we were much more competitive in qualifying, running with everyone in the race and it's a very nice surprise. Not finishing the race is never a nice feeling, so let's see if we can improve next time."
Alonso is hoping China will be another step forward after he felt the McLarens were capable of challenging Red Bull in Malaysia.
"The pace was surprisingly good, we were running with the pack and even catching the Red Bulls at the end before the pit stops. It was a nice surprise and hopefully in China we can make another step forward. These reliability problems are normal and without winter testing, what you normally find in winter testing we have to find in the first couple of races unfortunately. But we need to accept maybe some retirements and we are ready to do so. Definitely it has been a very nice weekend and a very nice surprise to see the improvement from Australia to here. If we keep this rate we will enjoy [success] very soon."
Asked if he felt he could have finished in the points without the problem, Alonso said: "We were out of sync with some pit stops with the others, but maybe tenth with one point was possible. The real positive thing is that we were able to run with everyone else and we were not the last two cars fighting with each other. This is the first step we had to do and it's good that we've made it already."