2016 German Grand Prix – race report
"Eighth was as good as it was going to get today"
Hockenheimring, Sunday July 31
The McLaren-Honda team heads into Formula 1’s summer break having scored an encouraging eighth-place result in the German Grand Prix – the team’s seventh points-scoring finish of the season.
Both Jenson Button and Fernando Alonso ran measured races inside the top 10 for almost the entire duration, but whereas Jenson was able to capitalise in the closing laps – moving from ninth to eighth two laps from home – Fernando fell back, dropping from 10th to 12th at the chequer.
Today’s performance was a validation of the efforts of the entire team over the weekend: following two tricky days of practice, the package came together today and underlined the developing pace of the McLaren-Honda partnership.
FERNANDO ALONSO, MP4-31-02
|Fastest Lap:||1m20.132s on lap 50 (+1.690s, 13th)|
|Pitstops:||Three: laps 14 (2.58s), 28 (2.95s) and 47 (2.65s) [Option-Prime-Option-Option]|
“It was a very tough race, possibly one of the toughest so far this season, especially towards the end, when my tyres were finished and I had to do a lot of fuel-saving.
“We knew before we came here that it might be a tough weekend. Ultimately, I lost 10th position at the end of the race, so we didn’t score that last point that we were hoping for. But we just didn’t have the pace throughout the entire race.
“Getting ready for the Belgian Grand Prix is our priority now – hopefully we’ll come back stronger after the summer break.”
JENSON BUTTON, MP4-31-03
|Fastest Lap:||1m19.781s on lap 48 (+1.339s, 9th)|
|Pitstops:||Three: laps 13 (2.54s), 31 (2.40s) and 46 (2.74s) [Option-Prime-Option-Option]|
“I made a very good start and made up most of the places there. After that, it was just about looking after the tyres, which were degrading faster than we’d expected. We also had to do a fair amount of fuel-saving, too, particularly in the last 10 laps. In fact, I went off the circuit towards the end, just because I was doing so much fuel-saving that I hit the brakes and they were just stone cold. I hadn’t even been braking hard.
“At the end, I was able to pick off Valtteri, who was struggling on his tyres. It feels satisfying to have beaten both Williams, but eighth was as good as it was going to get today – we were 20 seconds behind the car in front, and there’s still quite a bit to go before we catch those guys.
“Still, we’ve made good progress: we’re consistently fighting in the points, and the team are doing a great job this year, bringing something new to pretty much every single race. I want to say thank-you and well done to the whole team for their efforts.
“I’m looking forward to coming back and fighting after the summer break – but, right now, I’m looking forward to a holiday!”
ERIC BOULLIER - Racing director, McLaren-Honda
“Jenson drove faultlessly today, showing all his authority and intelligence to push throughout the entire race, moving into a well-deserved eighth position – after overtaking Valtteri Bottas – right at the very end. His was a fantastic effort.
“Fernando also looked set for a points finish, and was running 10th, closing on Jenson, when he began losing pace in the closing laps as he battled to save fuel and manage the tyres. His 12th position wasn’t a fair reflection of his efforts this afternoon.
“Still, after a tricky two days of practice, it was heartening to see our improved pace in the race.
“As we head into Formula 1’s traditional summer shutdown, I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to the hard work, dedication and efforts of the entire team. These past six grands prix have seen an unbelievable amount of work from our mechanics, engineers, hospitality team and riggers – many of those people have not seen their homes or their loved ones for many weeks. I now sincerely hope that everyone can get some well-earned rest and recuperation – well away from the Formula 1 paddock – before returning for the next race, in Belgium, in one month’s time.”
YUSUKE HASEGAWA - Honda R&D head of F1 project & executive chief engineer
“In comparison to yesterday’s qualifying, we were able to show a better race pace today, and I am happy that Jenson and the team were able to score points with a P8 finish.
“It was a very difficult race for both the team and drivers, trying to manage on-track battles, fuel saving and tyre management. Fernando also had very good race pace, but due to this, he was obliged to manage his fuel and pace at the end of the race while trying to hold off his rivals. He fought a tough fight, but was unable to maintain his position and finished in P12.
“Looking back at the last few races, we are now confident that our progress is definitely heading in the right direction, and are now aiming to make another step forward in the early part of the second half of the season.
“Last but not least, I would like to thank every member of the McLaren-Honda team for their brilliant work in this long and gruelling first half of the season. I hope everyone enjoys their time off and can come back refreshed for the latter half.”