Russian GP: Alonso says beating McLaren was impossible

Fernando Alonso said the resurgent McLaren Formula 1 team was out of Ferrari's reach during the Russian Grand Prix

Russian GP: Alonso says beating McLaren was impossible

Alonso could only finish sixth at Sochi, while McLaren took its best result since its double podium in the 2014 season-opening Australian GP with Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen claiming fourth and fifth.

Although Alonso, who had only qualified eighth, briefly put Button under pressure in the first stint following a rapid start, he felt this was a false situation.

"I don't think it was possible [to beat McLaren] to be honest," he said.

"I tried to follow Jenson in the first stint, but I was completely on the limit, and I think they were controlling the pace.

"Then after the stop, I exited behind Kevin and I tried to push but he was pulling away easily."

He admitted that fuel conservation had been a big factor for Ferrari in Russia.

"This race was very demanding on fuel, so we had to do a lot of fuel saving compared to recent races," said Alonso.

Although Alonso's sole pitstop was a slow one, he did not think that affected the final result, suggesting falling back from his early fourth was always inevitable.

"The start we knew was our biggest opportunity so we took a risk there," he said.

"We were fourth but probably out of position because we were not the fourth fastest out there, so slowly in the race we were losing positions - one with [Nico] Rosberg and one with Magnussen.

"We had a small problem with the stop which I really think didn't affect our final position, because Nico and Kevin were faster.

"Sixth was the result we deserved today and we need to do better."

BUTTON THINKS McLAREN IMPROVEMENT IS REAL

McLaren was competitive throughout the Sochi weekend, but Button said he was reserving judgement over whether the performance was a real turning point.

"Some of it is the circuit, but also I think we have improved the set-up of the car and we have found some other things that work for us," he said.

"We'll see when we get to Austin. I look forward to seeing where we stand. The Tarmac is very similar to here, just a lot more traction zones."

Though fourth was Button's second-best result of 2014, he admitted it was hard to be satisfied with that.

"It's good, but you finish fourth and it's the best result we've had in a little while and you still want more," he said.

"You are disappointed because you want to be on the podium, and then you are disappointed because you want to win."

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