Albert Park, Melbourne, Sunday March 17
“We’ll work incredibly hard to bring more pace to the MP4-28’s performance envelope”
Fastest lap 1m30.198s (+0.924s, 7th)
Pitstops Three: laps 4 (3.31s), 20 (4.39s) and 37 (2.39s) [Opt-Pri-Pri-Pri]
Points 2 (9th)
“Having won the Australian Grand Prix three times so far in my career – in 2009, 2010 and 2012 – you’d have to say that today’s ninth place isn’t really much to write home about.
“Having said that, I think we should be pretty satisfied with what we achieved here in Melbourne today. It was a tricky race, and our car isn’t yet quick enough, so I think the team did a great job to achieve even as much as we did.
“As a result, I scored two World Championship points today, which makes 1001 in my career I’m reliably informed, and to be honest I don’t think I could have scored any more than that. But, although that’s a nice stat, it doesn’t ease the pain caused by the knowledge that our car still needs a lot of work done before it’s properly competitive.
“Looking forward to Malaysia next weekend, I think we’ve got a tough few days ahead of us, but hopefully we can now do some number-crunching in an effort to understand our car a bit better and extract a bit more performance out of it there.”
Fastest lap 1m29.926s (+0.652s, 6th)
Pitstops Three: laps 16 (4.44s), 23 (+2.67s), and 41 (2.46s) [Pri-Opt-Pri-Pri]
Points 0 (11th)
“That was a very, very tough race.
“I got a good start, which is always a bonus, but, after that, even though the team did a great job with the strategy, we just didn’t have enough pace to make significant further progress.
“Having said that, I nearly managed to score a point, but in the end I couldn’t quite get up to 10th place at the end. To finish 11th is never really satisfying, but I think Jenson and I both drove pretty good races today. In fact I want to say ‘well done’ to Jenson, who maximised the performance of his car really well to finish ninth.
“Our engineers are aware that our car isn’t yet as quick as it needs to be, but I know I’m now part of the best team in Formula 1 so I’m certain they’ll improve it fast.
“Going back to this afternoon’s race, I don’t think the Albert Park circuit suited our car very well – it accentuated its problems in fact – so I’m hoping we’ll be able to put up a better showing in Sepang next weekend.
“Last but not least, today will always be a very special day for me, because it was the day I made my McLaren debut, which is something that every driver always dreams of. As I say, it would have been even better if I could have scored points, but that’ll come soon.”
Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes
“Jenson and Checo both drove very hard and very well today, in difficult conditions, making no errors, so I want to say ‘bravo’ to both of them.
“As always, Jenson managed the very challenging tyre degradation issues he faced quite brilliantly, his ninth-place finish pushing his career total of world championship points past the thousand mark: a truly remarkable personal milestone.
“Checo made a storming start from 15th place on the grid, surviving a very busy first few corners with an impressive mixture of forcefulness and diligence, and only very narrowly missed out on scoring a point on his Vodafone McLaren Mercedes debut. Believe me, very few 11th-place finishes have been harder earned or better deserved than Checo’s was today.
“Having said all that, a ninth-place finish and an 11th-place finish don’t constitute much of a result by our sky-high standards, and ultimately the 2013 Australian Grand Prix weekend must therefore go down as a disappointing one for all at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes. Our car simply hasn’t been quick enough here, but undoubtedly our drivers and engineers got the maximum out of it this afternoon and you can’t ask for more than that.
“Now the task that faces us is simple, if not easy: we’ll work incredibly hard to bring more pace to the MP4-28’s performance envelope. Our engineers are the best in the business, so I’m confident that they’ll do just that.”