Hungarian GP: Fernando Alonso says McLaren's fifth place is a gift

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Hungarian GP: Fernando Alonso pleased with season's best finish

Fernando Alonso hailed his fifth place in the Hungarian Grand Prix as "unbelievable" after securing McLaren's best result of the year.

He took advantage of a chaotic race and a stop for fresh tyres during a caution period to improve on team-mate Jenson Button's eighth place in Monaco.

"It is a present; at the moment we are not super-competitive," Alonso said.

"Fifth is a surprise but opportunity arrived in our hands. We took advantage and it is fantastic for the team."

McLaren have had a difficult season as they start their first year of a new engine partnership with Honda, whose engine is reputed to be in the region of at least 150bhp down on the best power-units in F1.

Fernando Alonso
Before finishing fifth in the Hungarian Grand Prix Alonso was forced to push his stricken car off the track in qualifying

Honda have also struggled badly with reliability, which hit again in qualifying on Saturday, during which Alonso provided a defining image by trying to push his car back to the pits after it broke down on track.

Alonso said: "Monaco, Hungary, Singapore - these are circuits that are a little bit better for our performance and our car and we need take these opportunities.

"For the whole team working 24 hours a day to update the car, to get some results to touch some points is a good way to go into the summer break.

"What we need is a good second half of the season and increase our level because we need to get some good preparation for next year, which is the main target now.

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"We know the car is improving, we know we are getting more competitive but it is always nice to touch it with the hands and put some points on the board."

Honda has promised an upgraded engine for the next race, the Belgian Grand Prix on 23 August.

Sources say that if the revised unit produces the expected performance, it will be the first time all season that the engine produces more power than it did in the opening race in Australia back in March.

To add to McLaren's good weekend, Button scored two more points with ninth place, despite not stopping for fresh tyres under the safety car.

Jenson Button
Button continued McLaren's good form with another two points for the team

Button said: "We understand there were a lot incidents that helped us a lot but very happy we both got points. I would rather be up where Fernando is but he did a great job today.

"We need another step forward if we are going to repeat this."

"The next two races are going to be difficult for us and I am sure we will have some penalties [for fitting new engines] as well."

Full race results