<
>

Fernando Alonso claims rivals could not have matched his 'unrepeatable' Baku performance

play
How did Hamilton win in Baku? (1:42)

Jonathan Legard discusses Valterri Bottas' misfortune following his puncture in Azerbaijan that seemingly gifted a win for Lewis Hamilton. (1:42)

Fernando Alonso believes his Azerbaijan Grand Prix performance was one for the ages -- an "unrepeatable" display none of his rivals would have been able to match.

Alonso was caught up in first-lap drama in Baku, when he was hit by the Williams of Sergey Sirotkin. That gave him two punctures on the right-hand side of his car, forcing him to limp back around most of the circuit on two wheels.

The Spaniard thinks he is the only driver who would have managed to finish that lap.

"Another seventh place but I think it was the result of persistence and pride, because I think no one [else] would have reached the pitlane, first of all," Alonso said. "They would have parked the car and if they could reach the pitlane they would have retired the car.

"But we didn't park or retire the car and fought for every tenth, every lap, close to the walls all race long and, I think it was the best race of my life."

With the first-lap contact also leaving his car with significant damage for the rest of the race, Alonso says there is no reason he should have finished so high up the order.

"I reached the pitlane thanks to a miracle. I didn't have two wheels or front wing or floor or anything.

"They changed the tyres and they told me the car was heavily damaged so I thought I wouldn't be able to finish or that I would be very slow. But I started overtaking cars and then with the Safety Car I gained some positions in the end."

Alonso repeated his suggestion that the performance had been one for the ages this week, posting to Instagram: "I've seen the photos of the car damage yesterday. Now I have no doubt, it was an unrepeatable race.

Despite McLaren's failure to make the final qualifying session so far this season, the two-time world champion has scored points at all four races and finds himself sixth in the championship.

This weekend he will race for Toyota at the 6 Hours of Spa, the first World Endurance Championship appearance of his busy 2018 schedule. That race is part of his preparation for a debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16-17.