McLaren’s Eric Boullier: “This has been a solid start to our weekend”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team managed to execute their run-programme with very few disruptions on the opening day of practice for the Monaco Grand Prix.

Stoffel Vandoorne finished Free Practice 1 with a fastest time of 1:14.813 to finish in twelfth, from here he was able to improve in Free Practice 2 in finish in eleventh, behind Valtteri Bottas who completed the top ten. The Belgian ended the day pleased with the direction and momentum of the package beneath him.

Jenson Button returns to the championship this weekend, subbing for Fernando Alonso who is racing in Sunday’s Indianapolis 500 in the United States. For FP1, he finished 0.141 seconds behind team-mate Vandoorne, as he got used to the MCL32. When it was time for FP2, he understood the car a lot better, finishing in twelfth with a fastest lap time of 1:13.981s.

Eric Boullier, Racing Director for McLaren confirms it was satisfying to maintain momentum with both cars through both sessions.

“It’s always fantastic to be in Monte-Carlo for the Monaco Grand Prix,” said Boullier. “Particularly after a relatively quick and trouble-free day of running.

“We managed to execute our run-programme with very few disruptions today, and while that’s nothing to be proud of, it’s satisfying to have been able to maintain momentum with both cars through both sessions.

“I’m pleased that Stoffel had such a productive day. Both he and his engineers have worked hard since the last race to better understand how he and the car can work together, and I think we’re starting to see the fruits of those labours.”

Boullier sees the opening day of practice as a solid start to the weekend at the Monte Carlo street circuit, now the Woking-based outfit are looking to improve themselves further for Saturday.

“Jenson also had a good day,” added Boullier. “He judged the day very well, typically playing himself in gently during FP1.

“Before starting to explore the increased grip and performance of these 2017 cars in the afternoon. After FP2, he admitted that he’d had a lot of fun in the car today, and I think that translated directly into his lap-times. This has been a solid start to our weekend. We’ll now spend Friday evaluating the data and will look to further improve on Saturday.”