Contrary to speculation before the race, McLaren proved to be more than a match for Alpine, demonstrating impressive pace throughout the Italian Grand Prix.
Alonso’s retirement (alongside Esteban Ocon running outside the points) gave McLaren an opportunity to substantially reduce the points gap to their French rivals in their battle for fourth in the constructors.
Lando Norris recovered from a difficult start to finish as the unofficial ‘best of the rest’ in P7, whilst Daniel Ricciardo’s late retirement ruined McLaren’s chances of securing their first double-points finish in F1 since France.
In a post-race interview quoted by formula1.com, Norris expressed his frustration about missed opportunities:
“There were some mistakes with the launch settings, things that I couldn’t change or adapt, so I was dealing with a car which wasn’t made to do a launch, basically.
“That meant I went into anti-stall like two or three times and lost me a lot of time and positions, probably cost me fifth place today.
“So, a bit disappointed, I would say quite disappointed because I felt like I did a good job and I drove well, but we just made too many mistakes.
“I mean, I was relaxed. I perform better when I’m relaxed and when I’m chilled. Of course, you just want to be able to be in your zone and concentrate and do your thing, and that was all.
“So, I mean, we would have finished P6 if there wasn’t a Safety Car. We then boxed, which was maybe another mistake.
“Some positives: we tried a few different things this weekend, and then some seem to have worked out. So, hopefully, things to look forward to if we can further improve that for the rest of the season.”