While Fernando Alonso claimed that Melbourne would be McLaren‘s weakest performance of the year and that he would subsequently be targeting the ‘big three’, the Woking team went one further, insisting, as it did in 2017, that it had the best car and merely needed an engine to match.
However, while a 36-point haul and fourth in the standings is not bad going, certainly compared to the last three seasons, it falls far short of where the Woking team, and Alonso, expected to be. Indeed, Melbourne remains the team’s best showing, thus far, while neither driver has yet made it into Q3.
“The three big teams, it’s difficult to challenge them at the moment and it’s going to take a while,” the 2009 world champion told Sky Sports.
“McLaren came out last year and this year and said they think they might have the best car,” he continued. “It’s a tall order to have the best car in F1 when you’re racing against Ferrari and Mercedes and Red Bull. And I think we’ve seen that isn’t the case.
“So you’d say the season so far is a disappointment,” he admits, “but if they didn’t say they had the best car you’d say it’s a great season for them.
“They’ve made good steps, they’re fourth in the constructors’ standings, but because of what they said at the start of the year you say maybe it’s not what we expected.”