McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team Racing Director Eric Boullier was pleased and surprised by the team’s performance at the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday, having looked prior to the event, that it would be tough going for the Woking based squad on race day.
The Frenchman praised driver Stoffel Vandoorne’s performance at a circuit he has never driven at before, the Belgian bringing home strong points in seventh place, for the second race in succession.
“First, I want to pay tribute to Stoffel. This was his second consecutive finish in seventh position, and was a result that demonstrated just how much effort and dedication he’s applied to make this work for him.
“Before the start, it was by no means looking like an easy race, particularly as we knew that we would probably be at the mercy of some of the faster cars behind us. So I think we can be proud of all we achieved this weekend, around a circuit that was not best suited to our package.”
It was a much trickier race for driver Fernando Alonso however, who had his race compromised by a crash taking place in front of him at the very start of the grand prix, and that held him back for the remainder of the event, despite the Spaniard’s best efforts to make his way back through the field.
“Stoffel was the beneficiary of a good start and had the opportunity to run cleanly throughout, but Fernando’s race was really compromised by the time he reached the second corner. Through no fault of his own, he was boxed in, and lost position, as an accident unfolded in front of him.
“Despite a strong drive, we weren’t able to help him make progress through the midfield, which was particularly full of incidents at this race. But he still did well to come home 11th.”
Having seen how well the team were able to perform on one side of the garage in Malaysia, Boullier is hopeful they can put in a strong performance again at the next round in Japan.
“I think we have plenty to look forward to when we head to Suzuka next week.”