Fernando Alonso regarded the Australian GP as the best of his career before retiring due to a suspension problem.
In spite of a low-powered McLaren-Honda, the Spaniard reached Q2 and qualified in 13th position. Alonso was able to compete against rivals throughout the race, running 10th until Ocon and Hulkenberg attacked him in a double overtake.
The McLaren driver was forced to retire seven laps before the end, as his suspension failed.
"It was probably the best race of my life until that moment," said Alonso. "Few times I've had such a an uncompetitive car, without any winter preparation, having to save fuel in a brutal way - I think we had to lift about a second per lap - and even so we were in the points.
"It was a pretty big surprise what we were doing, but in the end we couldn't complete it. But it was probably one of the best races I've had."
Alonso admits the Honda engine is the main problem of the MCL32, which will make the upcoming races even harder.
"As I said, there'll be few times with a weekend like this: 13th in qualifying and running in the points I think it's something that's going to be basically impossible in the next races," he said.
"This track is difficult, very narrow, very bumpy, where you need experience.
"On normal tracks our position will be a bit lower so we we need to improve immediately because otherwise we are going to have very frustrating races."
Honda plans on introducing an updated specification at the Monaco Grand Prix. Such upgrade is supposed to increase power and reduce significantly the speed trap gap. However, Alonso suggested the team needs to react quickly in order to leap forward.
"I don't know. That's another question for McLaren, which has to find something as soon as possible because otherwise Stoffel and I will do all we can every weekend but it will be hard to score."
by Beatrice Zamuner