Two times World Champion Fernando Alonso has admitted that his best efforts have not been enough to beat Esteban Ocon after the Frenchman's impressive start to the season.
The Spaniard who returned to the sport after two years away has so far struggled to match the 24-year-old Frenchman with Ocon three places ahead in the driver's standings after the first four races of the season.
Ocon continued that good form in Spain with ninth place and his third consecutive points finish whilst Alonso struggled with a misfire on his way to 17th in what was a disappointing home Grand Prix for the Alpine team leader.
Alonso admitted in an interview for that he needs to improve his performances as the season progresses before praising his young teammate.
"I think he is good, and we are seeing that he is in a very good form and, right now, fully integrated with the team. He was on the podium last year in Bahrain, in the last part of the championship, and now, giving perfect weekends. So this is very good. "It is impressive what he's achieving now. I am giving my 100%, and obviously, that's not enough to be at that level at the moment, so I need to keep improving."
Despite missing out on a hat-trick of points finishes, Alonso was pleased with his and the team's performance in Spain as they continue to make progress through the midfield.
"The weekend, in general, was very positive," he said. "In Portimao, we were competitive, but we didn't know if it was only Portimao; it was the circuit. But in Barcelona, we were competitive again. So now, let's wait a couple of grands prix, but I think we can be the fifth team behind Ferrari and McLaren. And this is good news because, in the first two races, it was more difficult to be in Q3.
"There's still work to do, and still work to do also on the strategy, on the tyre understanding etc. But it's not that here it was a surprise, the tyre. It was a risk that we took because we wanted to score points. So it was not a total surprise what we had on the tyres."