McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team Racing Director Eric Boullier was relieved to finally get some points on the board at the Azerbaijan Grand Prix this weekend.
The Woking based squad were able to secure two points through driver Fernando Alonso, who held on to ninth place at the chequered flag, despite being seriously down on power through the long straights of the Baku Street Circuit.
Despite that performance deficit, the Spaniard put in a brilliant drive and Boullier feels he should have got better reward for his efforts.
“The two world championship points we scored this evening are a validation of all we’ve worked towards in Baku this week. Since practice started, I’ve said that we’d need to take advantage of every opportunity that came our way in the race, and we did just that today.
“Both drivers raced with their customary vigour, but were also wary about getting caught up in any unnecessary incidents.
“Fernando drove a fantastic race, taking advantage of every opportunity, and I don’t feel ninth position is really a fair reflection of his achievements today.”
Team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne put in a solid performance but lost out at the red flag, having pitted a few laps prior to it being waved. That meant everyone ahead of him then essentially gained a free pit stop, making any advantage he would have had on the softer compound tyre, was then negated.
“Stoffel also posted an extremely mature drive, and, while he had the pace to close down on the two Sauber’s – and the chance of a point-scoring position – they were able to keep just out of reach along the long straight that offers the best passing opportunity around this tricky circuit.”
Scoring points this weekend has definitely put the McLaren Honda team in a more positive frame of mind, and Boullier is now hopeful of achieving another good result in Austria, in two weeks’ time.
“For the strategy team, the engineers and our hard-working mechanics, today’s points are a welcome relief after an extremely tough weekend. They’ll have put a spring in our step as we prepare for better fortunes at the next race in Austria.”