Eric Boullier admitted the double points finish in the Malaysian Grand Prix was satisfying, especially when Fernando Alonso started the race at the back of the field following multiple engine component changes across the weekend.
Alonso finished seventh and Jenson Button ninth at the Sepang International Circuit, and the McLaren-Honda Racing Director praised drivers and mechanics alike, especially after a race with three virtual safety cars that meant pit stops were critical.
“To be looking at two points’ finishes after starting one car from last position on the grid is an extremely satisfying result – and a real testament to the progress we’re continuing to make at McLaren-Honda,” said Boullier.
“The split-strategy reaped dividends for both Fernando and Jenson, and the pit-crew executed five faultless pit-stops, including a double-shuffle, which is always a stressful moment in any race.”
Boullier praised both drivers for their efforts during the race, with Alonso climbing from the back of the grid to finish seventh after a great start and an aggressive strategy, while Button was unlucky with the timing of the final virtual safety car that saw him lose time to some of his rivals that meant he finished ninth.
“Fernando’s charge through the field may have been fortuitously assisted by an opportune Virtual Safety Car period, but he was already inside the top 10 before making his final stop,” said Boullier. “He benefited from our aggressive three-stop strategy, and drove with all his fire and bravado to make up 10 positions on the opening lap alone.
“Jenson, driving in his 300th grand prix, was no less impressive – but he was desperately unlucky to make his second, and final, pit-stop just a few laps before the Virtual Safety Car handed his rivals a free, and unexpected, stop.
“To be clear, the two-stop was the fastest option to the chequer, and he was nicely lined up for the rest of the race – until the Virtual Safety Car. That’s motor racing, but we all know that Jenson’s driving is worthy of greater reward than ninth, and I’m sure that will come his way in these final five races.”