Fernando Alonso expected to slump even without clash
Fernando Alonso doubts he could have turned his Spanish Grand Prix qualifying heroics into McLaren-Honda's first 2017 Formula 1 points even if he had not collided with Felipe Massa.
Alonso delighted his home crowd by claiming seventh on the Barcelona grid in a car that had not previously reached Q3 this season.
But his race immediately went awry when a brush with Massa at the first corner sent him through the gravel and down to 11th.
He was initially able to keep pace with the two Haas cars and Carlos Sainz Jr's Toro Rosso, before getting cut adrift of this pack when he got trapped behind the out-of-sequence Daniil Kvyat while others on Alonso's strategy swiftly overtook the long-running Russian.
Later passed by Marcus Ericsson's Sauber, Alonso made an additional stop for fresh soft tyres and then charged from 15th to 12th in the closing laps, but felt the race's events proved he had been in for a tough afternoon regardless of the start clash.
"The cars in front were making contact and I took a risk," said Alonso of his first-corner move.
"Maybe I could have stayed behind but I had nothing to lose so I tried to go around the outside knowing that maybe he wouldn't see me.
Fernando Alonso (McLaren) - GP of Spain 2017Getty Images
"But even without that I think that with our speed on the straights sooner or later you start to drop down.
"Your rivals prepare it little by little and at one point it's impossible to defend or impossible to attack."
Alonso felt his time behind Kvyat - nearly one third of the race distance - underlined how Honda is compromising McLaren's opportunities on Sundays.
"In terms of race pace we knew we couldn't match the cars in front and even if we had it we lost all our chances behind Kvyat after the pitstop," he said.
"We can't pass on the straight so we stayed behind him and from there the race was more complicated."
His 12th place was still Alonso's first race finish of 2017 and McLaren's best result of the year so far.