Sun: McLaren, Sauber, Renault

Fernando Alonso picked up McLaren-Honda's first points of the season as both Renaults retired from a chaotic race.

McLaren

Fernando Alonso: “Starting 19th because of our penalties, on one of our least competitive circuits, yet still scoring our first championship points is unreal; a complete surprise. The race really came to us through the many retirements and a lot of action. I managed to stay away from the walls, just brushing them here and there. Nevertheless, I think we could have fought for a podium finish today – and perhaps even the victory. We were behind Daniel Ricciardo during the first Safety Car period; then Lewis had a problem with his headrest and was forced to pit; Sebastian had a penalty; Kimi (briefly) retired; the two Force Indias touched each other, so we automatically found ourselves in a decent position. We missed out on further opportunities because we weren’t quick enough in the race and couldn’t hold on to that position. Still, we got our first two points of the season today, so let’s just take that.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “I made a decent start – there was a lot of mayhem, a lot of debris – and I had to avoid a couple of slow cars on the run down to Turn Three, but I managed to keep my nose clean. Then the team did a great job to cover Romain Grosjean, I switched to the Option tyre and came out ahead of him. I had good pace on that tyre, but then the red flag came out and that took away my advantage as it meant everybody on the Prime could now get effectively a free tyre-change. After my final stop, I was catching the Saubers by 1.5s per lap, but once I’d caught them it was impossible to overtake. They were saving all their energy until the last corner; I was trying to do the same, in order to get the maximum boost available, but I just didn’t have the pace in the car to make it past them. Apart from that, our pace was strong today. It’s great for the team to score our first points of the season – we deserve it.”

Sauber

Pascal Wehrlein: “I am happy with the 10th place. Making Q2 in qualifying yesterday, and scoring a point for the team today, has definitely been better than what we expected from this weekend. The race was defined by several interruptions, so we do have to stay realistic when it comes to our expectations for the next races. We have some improvements to make, and would not have been able to score under normal circumstances. Nonetheless, the 10th place is a great team effort. We gave all we had, and showed our dedication when it was most needed.”

Marcus Ericsson: “It was an entertaining race today – I had a really good start and first stint, overtaking a few cars and moving up to the midfield. It was looking good. Then a lot of things started happening with safety car phases and the red flag, which disrupted the race and challenged us to stay focused and committed. After the restart I settled in quite well but picked up some debris, damaging my right rear of the floor. I was having some trouble in my left-hand corners, and started struggling to keep up my pace. Pascal was behind me, with Stoffel (Vandoorne) behind him, who was closing up the gap to my team mate. I received the order to let Pascal pass so that we can protect the point for our team, so I did. In the end I see it as a good result for the team, but of course it was disappointing for me not to be in the car that scored considering that I was 10th for a substantial part of the race. However, I was able to play a defining role in scoring the point by keeping Stoffel from closing in during the final laps.”

Renault

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s always a balance on a street course of getting as close as possible to the barriers but not too close. Unfortunately, I just clipped my front right and that was it for the suspension. It’s frustrating for me and all the team. Until then the race had been pretty engaging and it looked like we were in a position to continue our series of points scoring races. It was pretty tough on the restarts with the tyre temperature and I think everyone at home saw an eventful race. Next up Austria; let’s hope for better things there.”

Jolyon Palmer: “I experienced a misfire on the way to the grid; it got worse and ultimately the drivability was so poor that we had no choice but to retire the car. I made a decent start and then some overtakes into P15 so the start of my race was okay. It’s just been one of those weekends; I can’t remember ever having so few laps over a race weekend. My hope is to head to Austria with a reliable car so I can have a clean Grand Prix to show what I can do.”

 

 

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