McLaren F1 Team Sporting Director Gil de Ferran was in a positive mood after the Japanese Grand Prix, despite the team once again finishing outside of the points and star driver Fernando Alonso getting caught up in an incident with Lance Stroll, resulting in both drivers receiving a five-second penalty.
Talking after the race that saw Stoffel Vandoorne finish in fifteenth place and Alonso in fourteenth, de Ferran said, “Despite our lowly starting position, Fernando’s penalty and the fact that we come away with no points, it’s fair to say that today was still positive.
“Stoffel struggled a little in the first stint, but finished quite strongly to elevate himself to the fight immediately ahead.
de Ferran believes that had Alonso not have been caught up in the early tussle, he could have had a much stronger race, despite starting from eighteenth on the grid.
“Fernando had a brilliant first lap, and strong pace throughout the race, showing his customary inimitable race-craft.
“We sit here wondering what could have been, nevertheless we go home with a better feeling, given that we genuinely beat cars that started ahead of us.
“In addition, our race pace once again proved to be stronger than qualifying.
While de Ferran was positive, it seems he already cannot wait for next year, “On a cheerful note, I’m glad the great Japanese fans were rewarded with a very exciting Japanese Grand Prix that was full of overtakes. I can’t wait to return to Suzuka in 2019.”