Eric Boullier felt Fernando Alonso got the most out of his MCL32 during qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix, even though it was disappointing to be only thirteenth on the grid.
The Racing Director of the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team admitted the team are on the back foot when it comes to performance at this point of the season after a disjointed pre-season testing programme, and he felt Alonso was perfect on his final quick lap during Q2.
Boullier bemoaned the issues that befell Stoffel Vandoorne, who saw fuel pressure issues cost him the opportunity to do more than one run during qualifying, and he feels Sunday’s race will be difficult for everyone, especially as the MCL32 has not yet gone through a full race simulation.
“Fernando showed all his experience this afternoon, and coupled it with his undiminished natural speed, to carve a perfect lap whose verve and fluidity deserved better than P13,” said Boullier. “But in truth that’s all our car is capable of delivering at the moment, and Fernando produced it all. Bravo.
“Stoffel suffered a fuel pressure problem that caused him to have to abort not one but two runs early in Q1, but then kept his cool to post a very good lap in extremely frustrating and stressful circumstances. He’ll start tomorrow’s race from P18 – but, like Fernando’s, his lap was a lot better than that.
“We know we aren’t where we want or need to be, either performance-wise or reliability-wise, but we’re working through our problems together, and I’m massively impressed by the esprit de corps that exists within both McLaren and Honda. Well done, guys.
“Tomorrow’s race may be a difficult one for us, but we’ll pull together to get the best result possible.”