It was a dissatisfying race for the McLaren Mercedes team around the streets of Singapore, with Kevin Magnussen finishing down in tenth, but team-mate Jenson Button retired while running seventh.
It was a very difficult race for Magnussen, who immediately after his media responsibilities went to seek medical attention complaining of ‘feeling hot’ after the seat of his car was overheating throughout the race, but rumours of burns were quickly knocked back. He was also plagued by a drinks bottle that he could not use because the water inside was boiling hot, but he fought on and took home one point for tenth place.
“It was a very, very tough grand prix,” reflected Magnussen. “During the race, I don’t know if there was something wrong with the car, but my seat started getting very hot, which made things extremely uncomfortable for me.
“Without that, I think we could have done better than 10th, but at least we got that one point. It’s better than nothing. It was the hardest point I’ve ever earned.”
Team-mate Button was on course for a good result and was looking to pass the struggling Williams of Valtteri Bottas when his car inexplicably turned itself off with eight laps to go to end his run of 36 consecutive races of being classified.
“I was cueing things up for the end of the grand prix: I’d been looking after the tyres for the whole stint, and I knew the last five laps were when things were going to get tricky for Valtteri ahead of me,” said Button. “I’d just switched the car into a different mode, and the chase was starting to get quite exciting. Then, a few corners later, the car just died going into the hairpin. Going across the bridge, it just turned off, so I had to stop.
“I’d been really looking forward to the end of the race, because I definitely think I’d have got past Valtteri. But it just didn’t work out – I was pretty unlucky.”
Racing Director Eric Boullier was obviously downbeat after the team could only leave Singapore with a solitary point. Despite the lack of a good result, he could only praise both drivers for their efforts.
“To score just a single world championship point, after two hours’ toil in intense heat and humidity, is of course extremely disappointing for the entire team,” insisted Boullier. “For Jenson, who was driving exceptionally well in seventh place, cleverly optimising a tricky two-stop strategy, to be forced to retire with power box failure was an especially bitter blow.
“For Kevin, who had driven such an excellent qualifying lap here yesterday, this afternoon was gruelling; there’s no other word. His first stint was satisfactory, but in stint two he began to experience tyre degradation to a greater degree than we’d predicted, forcing us to convert his strategy from a two-stopper to a three-stopper.
“To add injury to insult, he was then subjected to severe bodily discomfort as his car’s cockpit began to overheat, necessitating his holding his arms aloft, first one then the other, in an effort to direct cooling air down his sleeves and inside his race-suit, which was an unusually painful complication for him.
“In the end, after an impressively plucky drive in extremely challenging conditions, he was able to score a single point for the team. It was scant consolation, of course it was, but it’s indicative of his tremendous fighting spirit, and I commend him for it.”