“Superb wheel-to-wheel action – fantastic entertainment for the fans”
Autodromo di Monza, Sunday September 7
Eventual finishing positions of eighth (Jenson Button) and 10th (Kevin Magnussen) weren’t quite what the team was expecting following yesterday’s promising qualifying session, which saw us lock out the third row of the grid.
The start was electrifying: Kevin deftly jumped from fifth to second into the first corner, but was unable to match the pace of the faster cars behind him once they had started to make up ground. Indeed, scrapping valiantly for position against faster opposition became the story of our race as both drivers pushed hard, enjoying close fights with Fernando Alonso, Valtteri Bottas, Felipe Massa, Checo Perez, Daniel Ricciardo and Sebastian Vettel.
Kevin’s race came undone when he was given a five-second stop-go penalty – he finished seventh on the road, which dropped to 10th once the time penalty had been added. Into the closing laps, braking and traction issues limited Jenson’s ability to fight hard against Checo – despite some sterling wheel-to-wheel action – and he finished ninth, later elevated to eighth following Kevin’s penalty.
Fastest lap 1m29.245s on lap 35 (+1.241s, 11th)
Pit-stops One: lap 22 (2.93s) [Opt-Pri]
“This wasn’t the result I was after – but the was good fun nonetheless. It’s just a pity that we didn’t quite have the race pace we’d hoped for: when you start fifth and sixth, you’re not just looking for a points finish, you want a bit more than that.
“If we’d had a clear run, I think we could have done a bit better – but, in the traffic, it was easier for the cars around us to pick us off than it was for us to pick them off.
“I had an amazing battle with Checo – we took the first Lesmo side by side, which doesn’t happen very often. It’s a pity I couldn’t get past him – I tried so many times – but he was so strong under braking that to match him into the turns I was locking up the fronts and the rears, which left me struggling for position on the exits.
“But I was really on the limit. It was superb wheel-to-wheel action – I hope it was great entertainment for the spectators and fantastic TV for the fans at home.”
Finished 10th (after a penalty)
Fastest lap 1m29.283s on lap 34 (+1.279s, 12th)
Pit-stops One: lap 21 (2.52s) [Opt-Pri]
“I made a great start – I got up to second into the first corner – but I knew I wouldn’t be able to keep that position, and inevitably I fell back. Obviously, it was nice to be up at the front for a while, and disappointing that we couldn’t stay up there, but as I say I knew it wouldn’t last for ever.
“It’s unfortunate to come away from the weekend having only scored a single point. Okay, we’re not battling for the world championship, but we’re still fighting for crucial positions in the constructors’ championship, and the points we lost today would have been very useful from that point of view.
“It’s frustrating to get another penalty, of course it is, but we’ll analyse them and see what we can learn. Let’s see if we can do something different next time.”
Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“Kevin made a truly tremendous start from fifth place on the grid, which gave him momentum enough to slip neatly past Felipe into second place into Turn One.
“Thereafter he drove hard and well, making no errors, but was unable to prevent a number of faster cars from passing him over the next 53 laps.
“In the closing stages he and Valtteri were involved in a spirited and entertaining dice – the kind of wheel-to-wheel racing that Formula 1 fans thrill to see – and in our view he was unfortunate to be penalised for what we saw as a legitimate defence. But the stewards’ decision is final, and as a result of it Kevin ended up being classified 10th.
“Jenson drove a typically controlled yet combative race, finishing ninth on the road, which became eighth as a result of Kevin’s penalty.
“As a team we scored only five world championship points today, which was quite a lot fewer than we’d expected to score, but there are positives to take from the weekend too: our qualifying pace was strong and our race pace was solid, and as I said yesterday it’s clear that we’re making sure and steady progress.
“The next race, the Singapore Grand Prix, will be run on a tight and tortuous circuit whose layout could hardly be more different from the flat-out speed-bowl that is Monza, but, on fast circuit or slow, you may be well sure that we’ll be doing our damnedest to score as many points as possible in an effort to consolidate our fifth place in the constructors’ championship.”