“We know what we have to do, and we’ll work night and day to do it”
Shanghai International Circuit, Sunday April 20
That was a difficult weekend for the whole McLaren team. After qualifying 12th (Jenson) and 15th (Kevin), both drivers struggled in the midfield throughout the race. Kevin was the sole starter on the Prime tyre, running until lap 17 before making his stop for Options. Jenson was the first runner to stop, after complaining of graining during his first stint – he changed from Options to Primes on lap seven.
Both drivers pushed back into the fray to run 13th and 14th at half-distance. Two further stops (Jenson, Primes, on lap 28; Kevin, Primes, on lap 31) saw the order settle with Jenson running 11th, chasing Daniil Kvyat, and Kevin in 13th, trying to close down Jean-Eric Vergne.
They finished in those positions: 11th (Jenson) and 13th (Kevin).
1 Nico Rosberg 79
2 Lewis Hamilton 75
3 Fernando Alonso 41
4 Nico Hulkenberg 36
5 Sebastian Vettel 33
6 Daniel Ricciardo 24
7 Valtteri Bottas 24
8 Jenson Button 23
9 Kevin Magnussen 20
10 Sergio Perez 18
11 Felipe Massa 12
12 Kimi Raikkonen 11
13 Jean-Eric Vergne 4
14 Daniil Kvyat 4
1 Mercedes AMG 154
2 Red Bull 57
3 Force India 54
4 Ferrari 52
5 McLaren 43
6 Williams 36
7 Toro Rosso 8
Fastest lap 1m43.375s on lap 30 (+2.973s, 18th)
Pitstops Two: lap 7 (2.44s) and lap 28 (2.51s) [Opt-Pri-Pri]
“It was pretty difficult out there. It felt a little bit like qualifying yesterday: we just couldn’t get the front tyres working – they just grained.
“We’ve got a few upgrades for the next grand prix, in Barcelona, but they won’t be enough to close our performance gap to the fastest cars. But the guys are doing their best, and a result like this is disappointing for everyone, especially for the mechanics and the guys back at the factory, because they’ve all been working so hard.
Fastest lap 1m42.701s on lap 33 (+2.299s, 12th)
Pitstops Two: lap 17 (3.56s) and lap 31 (2.62s) [Pri-Opt-Pri]
“It felt like a long race, because there wasn’t much I could do out there.
“Our car lacks downforce – that’s its main problem. The way it’s set up, and how it feels, has always been positive; it’s just low on grip, that’s all. So, clearly, we need to work as hard as we can to create that missing downforce.
“I know the guys back in Woking are doing their best, and I have faith that they’ll deliver that downforce before too long.”
Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“Our car isn’t competitive enough, we know that, its deficiencies mostly the consequence of insufficient downforce.
“Furthermore, the Shanghai circuit is front-limited – in other words it punishes lack of front-end grip. That being the case, the fact that we’ve been unable to get sufficient heat into our front tyres in the chilly weather conditions we’ve experienced this weekend has further compromised our performance here.
“There’s a three-week gap between now and the Spanish Grand Prix, and we’ll work flat-out between now and then in an effort to address our car’s shortcomings. We know what we have to do, and we’ll work night and day to do it.”