“Finishing is a small victory”
Albert Park Circuit, Sunday March 15
Fastest lap 1m33.338s on lap 56 (+2.393s, 12th)
Pitstops One: lap 27 (4.60s) [Opt-Pri]
“Today has been a good day.
“We’re still a long way off, but this is a good starting point – and I enjoyed the race. I even had a good little battle with Checo [Perez]. Today also really helps in terms of development: if we’d done three laps, we’d have learned nothing, so we’ve learned a massive amount by completing a race distance.
“It was also a good opportunity for me to get used to the car and to play around with it, making adjustments in the cockpit. There’s a lot of work still needed – on power, driveability, downforce and set-up – but we can make big strides. And, by improving one area, it tends to snowball; more and more areas start to improve, too.
“There were more positives: we’re as quick as the Force Indias in the corners, and we look similar in speed through the corners to the Red Bulls and Saubers, too.
“It’s been a tough winter – our longest run in testing was just 12 laps, so today’s 58-lap run was a good step forward – but we know we’ve got a lot of work to do. But, with all of today’s learning, there are many areas we can improve for the next race.”
Finished DNS – retired on lap to grid
Fastest lap –
“Today was frustrating for me – I really wanted to race the car – but it’s been good to get out here this weekend. I’ve really enjoyed it.
“Even though I couldn’t make the start, the team can learn something from my car’s problem. And we can take positives from Jenson finishing the race, too – we came here to learn, and that’s what we did. Finishing is a small victory for the team – I don’t think we expected to be able to do that.
“Now we can get a car to the finish line, we can start to accelerate our learning. We got 56 valuable laps under our belts today, and that’s a great way for McLaren and Honda to start our journey together.”
Racing director, McLaren-Honda
“After a tremendously difficult weekend, it’s not easy to find positives, but in fact there are some.
“First and foremost, we’re pleased that Jenson’s car was able to finish the race. He drove extremely well, keeping Checo behind him very adroitly for many laps, and garnering us a great deal of useful data in completing 56 laps.
“Having said that, he was lapped not once but twice by the race winner, Lewis [Hamilton], and we know we have a mountain to climb as far as performance is concerned. Nonetheless, our corner speeds were pretty decent, and there’s definitely untapped potential in MP4-30 that both Honda and ourselves can unlock.
“As for Kevin, he was very unlucky to have his race ended by an as-yet-unspecified power unit glitch before it had even begun.
“Last but very far from least, I want to thank and pay tribute to our mechanics, who’ve worked hard, day after day. They’re unsung heroes, every one of them, which is why I want to take this opportunity to sing their praises in no uncertain terms.
“In two weeks’ time we’ll be racing in Sepang [Malaysia], where the weather is bound to be extremely hot and humid. I’m not going to be rash enough to predict a form upswing in so short a time frame, but we’ll be working flat-out between now and then to make performance and reliability gains in any and every way we can, of that you may be 100 per cent certain.”
Honda R&D senior managing officer – chief officer of motorsport
“The fact that Jenson was able to finish the race was a significant step forward for the whole team. Equally, today’s performance clearly displays the task that lies ahead of us to reach our objectives of achieving full competitiveness.
“This was an important race for Kevin, and we feel deeply for him. It’s a great pity that we weren’t able to provide him with a driveable power unit for the race. We still need to fully investigate the source of Kevin’s problem, and we won’t be able to look into it until the car comes back to us and we’re able to take off the engine cover.
“We now turn our attention to Malaysia – racing in such a hot and humid environment will not be easy, and our main objectives will be to tackle heat-mapping and taking a step forward with a more competitive data setting.”