“We got the maximum out of our car today, and our race pace was good”
Sochi, Sunday October 12
A perfectly executed drive from Jenson Button to fourth place, backed up by a superbly combative run from Kevin Magnussen to fifth place, netted a valuable 22 World Championship points that moved McLaren back up to fifth place in the Constructors’ World Championship.
Fastest lap 1m41.964s on lap 47 (+1.068s, 4th)
Pitstops One: lap 22 (2.93s) [Opt-Pri]
“Well, that wasn’t a bad day at all – I reckon we got the maximum out of the car.
“I had a little scare at Turn Three on lap one, when Fernando [Alonso] and I got very close to each other, but apart from that it was a pretty straightforward race.
“It was odd that we were able to run so many laps on a single set of tyres today. The Primes [tyres] felt like they could have gone on for ever – it was a bit like going back to ‘old school’ racing in that respect. The track surface is in Austin [Texas] is very similar to the track surface here, as it happens, so I look forward to seeing how we fare out there in terms of tyre wear.
“It’s been a tough year for us but over the past few Grands Prix it’s been clear that we’ve been improving. Today’s result, fourth and fifth, is the best we’ve had for a little while, and the 22 World Championship points that Kevin and I scored are very welcome from a Constructors’ World Championship point of view.
“Having said that, unless you’re standing on top of the podium, you always want more; that’s the Formula 1 mindset. But believe me: we got the maximum out of our car today, and our race pace was good, but better results still will come soon enough.”
Fastest lap 1m43.076s on lap 44 (+2.180s, 14th)
Pitstops One: lap 26 (2.63s) [Opt-Pri]
“I decided to go flat-out from the start, in an effort to make up as many positions as possible from my P11 grid slot, and it worked; I had a great lap one, and then moved up to P5 very quickly.
“After that, though, it cost me dear because I had to do a lot of fuel-saving, especially in the second half of the race.
“Even so, it was a pretty uneventful afternoon for me. It was almost like a chilled-out Sunday drive, in fact, because I was easing off the power 200 metres before the corners in an effort to save fuel. I was really surprised that no-one was able to catch me, in fact; I guess the guys behind me must have been experiencing the same problem.
“Overall, therefore, I was pleased to finish fifth – and for Jenson to qualify and finish fourth was a great result in two ways: it meant that together we scored a lot of very valuable Constructors’ World Championship points and it also showed that our car is steadily improving.
“So it’s been a good weekend. We’ve been a bit quicker than we’d expected to be, which was great. Now we need to push really hard so as to carry that improved form forward for the rest of the season.”
Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“After a more than somewhat irksome day yesterday, it was a pleasure and a relief to enjoy a trouble-free race today.
“Jenson drove faultlessly all afternoon, defending well against Fernando [Alonso] in the early stages and thereafter serenely holding fourth place until flag-fall.
“Kevin made a stunning start, passing no fewer than five cars before the end of the first lap, and thereby emerging at the end of it in sixth place.
“Like Jenson, he then drove hard and well to the finish, putting in some impressively rapid laps towards to the end of his first stint in order successfully to leapfrog Fernando when they both pitted for fresh tyres, and fuel-saving diligently as the race neared its end.
“And while I’m on the subject of pit-stops, I want to pay tribute to our pit-crew, who once again wrought impeccable pit-stops; well done, guys.
“Admittedly, McLaren didn’t get where it is today by finishing Grands Prix fourth and fifth, we know that, but it’s clear that the direction of our improvement is both positive and linear. Moreover, the 22 World Championship points we scored this afternoon have lifted us well clear of Force India in the Constructors’ World Championship, and we fully intend to consolidate that advantage over the final three Grands Prix of the season.
“Finally, on that subject, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate our friends at Mercedes-Benz for having sewn up the Constructors’ World Championship this afternoon: an effort doughty and a result lustrous.”