“For me, the race doesn’t really matter today.”
Suzuka, Sunday October 5
The entire McLaren team’s thoughts are with Jules Bianchi, Jules’ family and the Marussia team after today’s accident.
For McLaren, it was a disappointing race.
At the start, Jenson Button quickly capitalised on the mixed conditions – he was the first driver to make the jump to Intermediate tyres after the Safety Car peeled in, a move that elevated him to third place, a position he was able to hold for most of the race, until he was delayed by the need to elongate a pit-stop in order to accommodate a steering wheel change.
As the conditions worsened, his decision to switch back to Full Wets looked equally assured – but he was unable to take advantage of that decision as the Safety Car was brought out, and the race prematurely red-flagged. He finished fifth, but deserved better.
An electronics issue also delayed Kevin Magnussen during his first stint. It required an additional pit-stop to change Kevin’s steering wheel – a delay that dropped him a long way down the order and effectively ended his hopes of fighting for points. Despite some brave fighting moves, he was unable to recover to better than 14th place.
Fastest lap 1m51.721s on lap 33 (+0.121s, 2nd)
Pitstops Four: laps 1 (during red-flag stoppage), 9 (2.76s), 31 (6.87s – included steering wheel change)
and 42 (3.21s) [Wet-Wet-Inter-Inter-Wet]
“For me, the race doesn’t really matter today.
“I haven’t seen anything of Jules’ accident, but the most important thing to say is that all our thoughts are with him, his family, and his team right now.
“It’s an accident that you hope never happens in Formula 1.”
Fastest lap 1m53.510s on lap 38 (+1.910s, 9th)
Pitstops Five: laps 2 (during red-flag stoppage), 11 (2.73s), 15 (6.02s – included steering wheel change),
33 (2.12s) and 40 (2.58s) [Wet-Wet-Inter-Inter-Inter-Wet]
“Let’s really hope that Jules is okay. It’s such a bad feeling when something like this happens, so let’s hope and pray for him.
“We did the best we could today, but we had an unfortunate problem with the steering wheel, which basically dropped me out of the race. I tried my best to come back, and get some points, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible to do so.”
Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“More important than anything else, on behalf of everyone at McLaren I want to say how shocked and sorry we were to hear the news of Jules’ accident. Our hearts go out to him, of course, to his family, and to all at Marussia.
“As far as today’s race was concerned, Jenson was the first driver in the field to stop to fit Intermediates, and, having done so, thereafter he drove very well all afternoon. Indeed, he may well have finished third had things panned out better for us at the end of the race in terms of Safety Car and pit-stop timing.
“Even so, the 10 points he scored for fifth place may well be useful to us in our efforts to move up the Constructors’ Championship table.
“By contrast, Kevin had a disappointing afternoon. From early in the race his car began to develop electronics issues, which we attempted to ameliorate by replacing his steering wheel in an unscheduled pit-stop.
“After that he was always going to be playing catch-up – and, although he pulled off some good moves, especially his overtake of Daniel [Ricciardo], he was never going to be in with a chance of scoring points here today.
“From here we go to Sochi [Russia], where we’ll all be hoping for a much better weekend, from every point of view.”