Aston Martin deserved to finish higher than fifth in the constructors’ championship said Fernando Alonso after the team failed to overhaul McLaren for fourth place in Formula 1’s season finale.
Aston Martin held second place in the championship over the first six races. They slipped back into the clutches of Mercedes and Ferrari as the season progress, but were still fourth after 13 races, with 104 points in hand over McLaren.
But McLaren’s strong progress in the second half of the year meant they overtook Aston Martin just six races later. They went into the final race separated by 11 points but Aston Martin were unable to overhaul them.
“Fifth in the constructors, it hurts a little bit because I think we were better than that,” Alonso admitted after the race in response to a question from RaceFans. “We were hoping better than that at the beginning of the year.”
He finished fourth in the drivers’ championship, seven places ahead of team mate Lance Stroll.
“To finish fourth is a little bit of unreal, fighting with the guys that we were fighting,” Alonso said. “In fact, if we are fifth in the constructors’, normally you should be ninth and 10th in the drivers’. So it’s a dream season for many people in Aston Martin, including myself.”
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Despite his disappointment at the team’s final finishing position, Alonso hailed the progress Aston Martin made in his first season since joining them.
“It has been a historic season for Aston Martin and for myself,” he said. “Eight podiums, more than 200 points, I think 300 points nearly for the team – 12 months ago, this was unthinkable.”
Alonso scored the same number of points as Charles Leclerc, but was classified ahead of him as he had more third-place finishes in grands prix: five to the Ferrari driver’s three. However the two-times world champion said his finishing position in the standings was “not that big a deal”.
“Actually, when I saw Leclerc P2 on the big screen, I thought that he was in front,” said Alonso. “But apparently we tied on points and he had more third places or something like that. So I don’t know.
“As I said, this is completely unexpected, completely unreal to be fourth in the championship: 2012 and this season for me are the best in my career and a position that I could never imagine at the beginning of the year or with the car performance we had.”
Stroll praised his team mate’s performance and said Aston Martin need to avoid a repeat of their mid-season slump next year.
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“He’s had an incredible season, for sure,” said Stroll. “All those podiums and just been super-strong all year and really capitalised when the car was at its best.
“As a team I think just we lost out of a bit in the second half of the season for a big chunk. Teams that we were quicker than – McLaren, even Mercedes, Ferrari – we were quicker than them a lot of those races, they picked up their game and finished the season stronger than us.
“So I think next year try and come out with a car that’s very strong again out of the box and then try and maintain that throughout the season a little bit stronger. I think that’s the goal.”
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