A jubilant Eric Boullier has praised his McLaren F1 Team‘s efforts in the 2018 Australian Grand Prix, saying their trouble-free weekend and double points finish is a “relief” following troublesome winter testing.
McLaren’s first race with Renault power saw Fernando Alonso claim fifth and Stoffel Vandoorne ninth. Boullier credits both drivers for driving “superbly” but also praises the wider team for capitalising on a virtual safety car period courtesy of the Haas F1 Team‘s double retirement.
“A good result for us today,” said Boullier. “We benefitted from every opportunity that was thrown at us – the first being Haas’ double retirement. We really feel for them because we know what this is like; a double DNF is hard to take, but this is racing.
“As we said yesterday, we knew we had some potential and further speed to unlock from the car today. We took every chance we could and both drivers drove superbly.
“We showed good pace, enjoyed some good fights, and we completed two decent pit stops which helped us keep our strategy on track.”
Boullier’s relief at McLaren’s resurgence stems from three troubling years with Honda power, and while the Frenchman is keen to praise the team, he also encourages them to continue pushing and edge their car’s pace closer to key rivals Aston Martin Red Bull Racing.
“I want to say a huge thank you to the whole team, here and back in Woking, not only because we’re encouraged by the potential our car has shown in the first race of the season, but also reliability-wise we had a trouble-free weekend, which is a relief after the issues we had in winter testing.
“It’s all thanks to a huge amount of hard work from everyone in the team, who have done a remarkable job since Barcelona.
“Now we need to keep pushing, and work on readying the upgrades we have in the pipeline as soon as possible.
“Our priority is to get closer to our nearest competitors in front, especially those who have the same engine in the back of their car.”