Being the die-hard Fernando Alonso fan that I am, you’d think I would have posted about his recent 5th-place finish much sooner. Like right after the race this past Sunday. I apologize for letting you, McLaren and especially Fernando down. I am very pleased with the results for both Alonso and Jenson Button, I just wish it had been under different circumstances.
Don’t get me wrong, racing is speed + machine + man + luck + crashes + penalties and at the Hungarian GP that is exactly how it played out. Kudos to McLaren’s two drivers for staying out of trouble and to the team for keeping them in a position to take advantage when other drivers did get in trouble.
Maybe I am protecting myself. Maybe I just don’t want to get my hopes up too much. I have been down this road before with Alonso, I guess Alonso has been down this road as well. After the heartbreak of 2010 and 2012 I just would rather enjoy what I can, in this case watching another team aside from Red Bull come into their own and if Alonso and McLaren can put together a solid weekend all the better.
Maybe I am steeling myself against what all sports fans know to be true, that just when you think your team or player has turned a corner, gotten it all right, is in the cat-bird seat, they are not. Oh, the disappointment is so painful sometimes. By the way, for those of you wondering, I am a Seattle Seahawks fan and one of of my best friends is an LA Clipper fan, so I am very well schooled in disappointment.
This is not to say I am not hopeful. I am. Secretly, I am thinking this is it, this is the result that all of us Alonso, Button and McLaren fans (I was a big fan of the Mika Haikkinen, David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen days when Ron Dennis was on the pit wall) have been waiting for. This is the result that we can all get behind. This is finally the result that matches the expectations of this old but new partnership.
Since day one of this season I have been telling my wife (who questions weekly why I am not in tears over Alonso’s lack of points) that McLaren will not able to fight for outright wins this year, but by the year’s end will definitely be in the top five and a podium or two is not out of the question. I really believe that. I do. Arai has just told the press that he and Honda will use up the rest of their allocated tokens and the result should be another 45-50 horsepower and that should translate into quite a difference in lap time.
Of course there is the little issue of reliability, but hey, who’s counting the ICE’s, the MGU-H/K’s, the TC’s, or the ES’s that the team has already gone through? Penalties, sh’menalties. And who cares about faulty electrical systems or rogue sensors? That was when the MP4-30 was liveried silver and black with a funny red-detailed nose and finishing 19th and 20th.
Now the McLaren racer is the super cool graphite carbonate color and Hungary is hopefully the true beginning of something the team can build on. Yep, secretly I am already fantasizing about Alonso racing Hamilton wheel to wheel now that both have real mutual respect for each other and yes, picking up where he left off with the wunderkid Vettel. Won’t it be that much sweeter for the Spaniard when standing on the top step and the Merc in P2 and that red car in P3.
The next track that should really suit McLaren and Honda’s package is Singapore, and by then with a little luck McLaren should be in a much more competitive place. Of course it wouldn’t hurt if maybe Lewis has another poor start and can crash into Vettel and Nico/Daniel reprise their duel resulting in a puncture for both and just for good measure if Sainz Jr. would do the honors and take out Verstappen, maybe then Alonso will actually get the podium that I’m hoping for.
What? It could happen…