Eric Boullier, McLaren Honda’s Racing Director, believes that the team seized a great opportunity today – and it resulted in both cars finishing in the points and the fastest lap to boot.
In arguably the strongest weekend for the team across the board, they collected nine points – lifting them off the bottom spot of the Constructor’s Championship, now ahead of Sauber F1 Team.
“Today was a timely reminder that, despite a difficult season so far, at our heart we remain a passionate racing team. To score nine points and set the fastest lap of the race shows that, as soon as an opportunity presents itself, we are ready to take advantage of it.”
Fernando Alonso was the standout driver of the day for the team – and even grabbed a fastest lap in the dying stages of the race, something of a rarity for McLaren.
“What can you say about Fernando’s drive today, except that it was utterly sensational. He was absolutely charging out there – and, once he’d made his pit-stop and switched to the Prime tyre, he was really able to control his pace until the end.”
“His pass around the outside of Carlos [Sainz] was brilliant – he knew he had to make a move stick while on fresh rubber, and he did just that. From there, he just drove away, and set a number of quick-laps before finally setting the fastest lap of the race on the penultimate lap. He showed today just what makes him so special.”
Vandoorne was not quite as successful as Alonso, although there were factors to suggest why this was, as Boullier explains. He also made a mistake going into his pitstop that cost him valuable time.
“Stoffel also drove a very strong race. He didn’t get a break at the start, as Ricciardo slowed right in front of him, but he drove strongly all the way to the finish. He’ll be pleased to have scored a point just ahead of his home race; this is the reward for a lot of dedicated hard work and effort from both him and the team.”
“As we prepare for the summer break, and the second half of the season, this result will send us away with added sense of purpose and determination.”