Autódromo José Carlos Pace, Sunday 12 November
Fernando Alonso drove his heart out in a race-long pursuit of Felipe Massa, ending his Brazilian Grand Prix in a hugely impressive eighth position.
Starting from sixth, Fernando was overtaken by the Brazilian on lap six. He settled down in hot pursuit of the Williams driver, and only lost positions to the faster cars of Lewis Hamilton and Daniel Ricciardo before he reached the chequer.
After making his sole stop of the race on lap 28, Fernando really put the hammer down to close a 2.8s gap to Felipe. For the remaining 42 laps, he pushed relentlessly, closing the gap down to 0.4s by the chequer. While his bid was ultimately unsuccessful, it was supremely spectacular.
Stoffel’s race lasted only until Turn Two. Kevin Magnussen clattered into him, breaking his left-front track-rod and front wing, forcing him to retire immediately.
FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren Honda Driver, MCL32-05
|Fastest lap||1m13.451s on lap 57 (10th)|
|Pitstops||One: lap 28 (2.560s) [Option/Prime]|
“Overall, it’s been a happy Brazilian GP for us. We started sixth, at the first corner we were up to fifth, and then we finished in the points – one of our best weekends.
“I had a fantastic car throughout the whole race, but, ultimately, I just could not overtake. We didn’t have enough speed on the straights. I was very, very close to Felipe a couple of times at the exit of the corners, and I thought ‘now is the time I can pass him,’ but even though I was using the DRS, he was pulling away.
“He was very consistent and made zero mistakes. Also, being the last lap of Felipe’s last-ever F1 race in Brazil, I wasn’t sure how hard he would defend! I didn’t have a chance to overtake him, anyway. And I had to defend from Perez behind, so I was happy when I saw the chequered flag.”
STOFFEL VANDOORNE, McLaren Honda Driver, MCL32-04
|Finished||DNF – front suspension damage|
“Definitely not the race I wanted to have. I actually had a really good launch off the grid, then had a good fight with Ocon and Grosjean and nearly got past them – we almost had an accident there when everyone bunched up.
“Then, in Turn Two, I got sandwiched by Magnussen and Ricciardo. There was nowhere to go. An unfortunate end to my race. From my perspective, there was nowhere I could have gone to avoid the incident.
“I definitely think today was a missed opportunity to score points. Our race pace looked really promising on Friday, and I felt that, with the track conditions being so hot today and after making a strong start, we had a good chance to finish in the points. A shame.”
ERIC BOULLIER, McLaren Honda Racing Director
“Fernando’s performance was a timely reminder of just what a competitive animal he remains. When he was given the green-light from the strategists to attack Massa, he was utterly relentless, driving each lap as if it were a qualifying lap, and narrowing the gap on a lap-by-lap basis.
“Even if pulling off an overtake might have been tricky, given the limitations of our package, that did nothing to deter him, and I’m sure he could have made it happen given a handful more laps. It was a fantastic display of controlled, hard driving, a fantastic spectacle to watch, and, I’m sure, terrific fun in the cockpit. Bravo, Fernando.
“Stoffel was incredibly unlucky. He’d made a great start, was making progress, then got side-swiped by Kevin Magnussen at the exit of Turn Two. It was a pointless collision, and Stoffel was entirely the victim. Still, he’d enjoyed a solid weekend until that moment, and will hit back in the final race in Abu Dhabi in a fortnight’s time.”
YUSUKE HASEGAWA, Honda R&D Co. Ltd Head of F1 Project & Executive Chief Engineer
“It was a good race for us today, with Fernando having some exciting on-track battles against his rivals.
“Fernando, who started the race from P6, managed his tyres well, even in the high temperatures, and maintained a consistent pace throughout the afternoon. Although it was disappointing that he was unable to overtake Massa and move further up the field, it was a great performance and he collected more points for the team.
“On the flipside, Stoffel had a very disappointing race and was unable to make it to the end of lap one, through no fault of his own. Up until then, he’d had a solid weekend.
“Overall, it was an okay weekend for us, with our package showing decent speed during each session and two more points collected as a reward for everyone’s hard work.
“We have only one more race to go for this season as McLaren Honda, so we’ll try our maximum to extract all the potential from our package.”