|“The 2017 Australian Grand Prix won’t be remembered as one of McLaren-Honda’s finest hours, and indeed there are precious few reasons for us to be cheerful here in Melbourne this evening.
“However, I want to pay tribute to our drivers, both of whom performed superbly, albeit in very different ways. “Fernando’s car suffered a damaged left-front brake duct early on, but he nonetheless drove a prodigiously impressive race, wringing every last tenth-of-a-second from a compromised car on every lap, and at one stage a points finish looked to be a possibility for him.
“Tantalisingly close to the end of the race, however, the damage on his car developed into a terminal problem, the floor having become irreparably broken, forcing him to drive back to the garage and retire. That was a bitterly disappointing end to a wonderfully spirited drive, but I guess that’s racing.
“Stoffel had a dreadfully frustrating afternoon, losing his dashboard function early in the race – causing him to have to count his gearchanges both up and down in the absence of the usual on-dash digital readout – which problem we were able to address by bringing him in for an unscheduled system reboot.
“He soldiered on to the finish – and, although his afternoon was a difficult and unsatisfying one, the fact that he went the distance was a consolation of sorts. Indeed, bearing in mind that he’s now driven the grand total of just two grands prix, I’d describe his performance as dogged and diligent: a very difficult job very well done.
“From here we’ll return to Woking and Sakura, where our development work will continue with relentless intensity, with regard to chassis and power unit alike, in an effort to improve MCL32 for the Shanghai-Bahrain double-header in a fortnight’s time.”