Bahrain International Circuit, Sunday 8 April
Today’s race offered a welcome final result after what was a difficult day for the team in qualifying yesterday. Starting in 13th and 14th, both drivers had opposing fortunes – Fernando made a strong start and was able to push forward to make up ground to the cars in front. Stoffel, conversely, had a slower than anticipated start and was 20th after the first corner. Nevertheless, he fought back in impressive style to finish just behind his team-mate – the pair finishing in seventh and eighth positions respectively.
Strong performances from both drivers, and executing a successful strategy which included four strong pit-stops between them, rewarded the team with a second double-points finish in as many races.
FERNANDO ALONSO, McLaren Driver
|Fastest lap||1m34.168s on lap 47 (+0.428s, 3rd)|
|Pit-stops||Two: laps 14 (3.0s) [Prime/Back-Up] and 39 (2.9s) [Back-Up/Option]|
“It was another great race today, with the team performing good pit-stops, good strategy and good reliability. Everyone worked perfectly today and we got both cars into the points.
“We did a good job at the start, overtaking a couple of cars. We had newer tyres compared to the people around us and we were expecting a bit more, but after that we had the pace to keep our position in the front train.
“Looking at the overall picture of the weekend, we struggled in every session and had quite a poor qualifying, so now being seventh and eighth is a positive result for the team.
“Having 16 points after two races is promising, but at the same time we know that this weekend was not good enough in terms of performance, so we need to raise our game. We just cannot underperform again. We know that we have the potential, and that the car has some good things and bad things which we need to make sure we improve as soon as possible. New parts are coming, but whatever we have on the car on Sunday we’re sure we’ll deliver and push to the limits, and today was another good example."
STOFFEL VANDOORNE, McLaren Driver
|Fastest lap||1m35.131s on lap 30 (+1.391s, 16th)|
|Pit-stops||Two: laps 10 (2.8s) [Option/Prime] and 28 (2.8s) [Prime/Back-Up]|
“After the start of the race I didn’t think this result would be possible today! I had a terrible start, a lot of wheel-spin off the line and found myself sitting there in absolute last after Turn One. From there we made a great recovery, and to finish eighth and have both cars in the points again is very pleasing.
“We always knew our race pace was going to be better than our qualifying pace and today we proved that again. We overtook a lot of cars on track and made some very bold overtaking moves into Turn One. For me it was an amazing race and I enjoyed some great fighting, so I’m pretty happy. We were very ambitious today and had a good strategy, knew our race pace was better than a lot of the people around us and today is a great result for us.
“We still have a lot of analysis and work to do to understand why our race pace is so different. I think it will get better over the next few races and if we’re able to start in higher positions it will make our life a bit easier and allow us to finish further up the grid. I’m sure the results will be visible very soon. There are a lot of plans in place and we know that in Formula 1 it can take a bit of time to see the benefits of those, but we’re very confident that on a Sunday we can go out and race. We showed that again today and we need to keep working and keep improving.”
ERIC BOULLIER, McLaren Racing Director
“After a tough day for us yesterday, a double-points finish is a pleasing reward for the hard work the whole team put in overnight to ready our cars for today’s race. We knew that our race pace would be stronger than our qualifying performance, but in such a tight midfield it’s often too close to predict and anything can happen to affect the order. While we did benefit from certain circumstances in the race, we showed good pace and deployed a strong strategy to gain track position at every opportunity.
“Both drivers did an incredible job – managing their tyres and fuel, regulating their pace, and reading the situation around them to maximise their track positions. Fernando drove masterfully to keep on top of the pack and attack cars further ahead, making great progress against our nearest competition to finish seventh. Stoffel, after suffering at the start and exiting the first corner last, made an impressive fightback through the field. Although most of them weren’t seen on our screens, he made no fewer than 11 on-track overtakes over the course of the race, to finish just behind his team-mate in eighth place. Congratulations to both of them for today’s excellent performances – their double-points finish is thoroughly deserved.
“I’d also like to say a massive well done to our mechanics for their excellent work in the pit-stops today, which really helped us to execute our strategy perfectly. Now we must keep our heads down, keep working hard, and first and foremost turn our attention to our qualifying performance to make an improvement in China in a few days’ time.
“Finally, we send our thoughts and best wishes to the Ferrari mechanic, and we hope he makes a speedy recovery.”