Alonso: ‘Button is the best team-mate I’ve ever had’

Fernando Alonso has hailed his team-mate as the best he’s ever raced with after the Brit announced a break from the sport for 2017 after 17 non-stop years in F1. 

The Spanish veteran respects the Brit’s decision and is looking forward to racing alongside the highly rated Stoffel Vandoorne.

Alonso said,

“I’ve been working with Jenson for the last two years. It was a fantastic work, and probably, not probably, I can say that he was the best team mate I ever had, in terms of performance, in terms of feedback with the engineers and the car development was great with him.

We will have Jenson in the team which is the most important thing. The best news of this change is that we will have Stoffel in the car with the fresh ideas and we will push the team to the maximum, but also we still have Jenson around us, helping us and giving all his contributions. So I think it’s very good news for the team for the future, and now we are ready and looking forward to Australia.”

Fernando Alonso

One thing Alonso isn’t as complimentary about is the performance of his McLaren-Honda in qualifying today. He could only manage 13th with Button 15th, although the will start 12th and 14th respectively after Grosjean’s 5-place penalty. Alonso said this after qualifying:

“This was probably about where we expected to qualify. We went very well in practice yesterday, so I think we were brought back to reality this afternoon. Q1 was hard for us, and we went for a single new-tyre lap in Q2 and pushed to the maximum, so we have to be happy with ourselves.

We always expected Monza to be hard for our package, but it’s still a bit disappointing to be fighting against a Manor.

We’ll study the strategy overnight, but we’ve got the choice of starting tyre, so will try and take full advantage of everything tomorrow.”

– Fernando Alonso