McLaren came away from a difficult weekend in Belgium with plenty of reasons to be positive. After a real struggle for Fernando on Friday and Saturday he shown what the car could do from the back of the field. The race started of in such a mess, incidents up and down the field. Sadly Jenson got hit in the rear which caused to much damage for him to carry on. Then the red flag moment. I just want to say how much of a relief it was to see K-Mag step out of that crash. After the red flag stoppage Fernando found himself in 4th place. He was always going to struggle to keep Lewis Hamilton behind him and the very fast Force Indias, but what he did in the final segment of the race was very impressive. For what must have seemed like an age, Fernando has both Williams and Kimi behind in, running very close to the back of him. But in true Fernando style he wasn’t going down without a fight and boy did he deliver. He managed to hold those three off and claim a brilliant 7th place. Spa was marked as a track McLaren would struggle at and to come away with points is a huge boost for the whole team.
FERNANDO ALONSO, MP4-31-04
Fastest Lap: 1m54.484 on lap 54 (+2.901s, 15th)
Pitstops: One: lap 24 (2.36s) [Prime-BackUp]
“It was an exciting race to drive and I had a good feeling throughout.
“We had good pace this weekend; we did better than expected on this track; we were in the top 10 with Jenson yesterday in qualifying; and we’ve scored points today.
“Believe me: a few months ago that would have been unthinkable on a circuit like this. That’s progress – real progress.
“And, after all the bad luck we’ve had so far this weekend, we finally got some good luck today. We started last, but we managed to keep away from all the incidents, gain some positions thanks to the Safety Car and then a couple more because of the red flag.
“We then put on fresh tyres and found ourselves in fourth place – and, better still, we had the pace to manage the situation afterwards.
“Okay, we couldn’t hold back Lewis [Hamilton], Checo [Perez] or Seb [Vettel], because they were just too fast, but we had enough pace to keep Valtteri [Bottas] behind all the way to the flag.
“Finally, it’s great news that we overtook Toro Rosso in the Constructors’ World Championship – I think we can be regularly in the points from now on.
“So, to sum up, this weekend we saw evidence of very good progress from the team; we’re moving in the right direction, that’s for sure.”
JENSON BUTTON, MP4-31-03
Finished: DNF – retired on lap 1
Fastest Lap: –
“We looked really good for points today, so it’s disappointing that we didn’t score any, but it happens. I’ve been around long enough to know these things happen.
“I had a really good start – I got ahead of a Williams, pulled in front of a Red Bull and drew alongside a Force India. But then I lost a lot of places at La Source and ran wide. I rejoined the track, but Pascal [Wehrlein] made contact with me at Turn Five, damaging the rear of my car. There was a lot of damage and we were unable to complete the race.
“After such a short race, there’s not much more to say!”