2018 Monaco Grand Prix
Fernando Alonso was forced to retire with transmission problems from this afternoon’s Monaco Grand Prix, bringing an early end to a drive that looked set to yield more world championship points for the McLaren team.
It was a bitter blow: the Spaniard had run competitively inside the top 10 for his whole race and looked destined to claim a well-deserved seventh position at the chequer. He rolled to a smokey halt at Ste Devote on lap 53.
Starting from 12th position,Stoffel always faced a difficult afternoon. A slightly longer than normal pit-stop and a mid-race flat-spot delayed him, but he kept it on the road to finish 14th.
Despite the no-score, the team retains fifth position in the constructors’ championship, with 40 points.
Finished Ret – transmission, 53 laps
Fastest lap 1m17.018s on lap 23 (+2.758s, 13th)
Pit-stops One: lap 19 (2.5s) [Option/Back-Up]
“It was quite a boring race: I was cruising around in seventh position as there were barely any yellow flags or Safety Cars.
“I’m obviously disappointed because this was our first retirement of the season today. First, I felt a loss of power and then I was somehow stuck in fifth gear. It’s painful because we had seventh place in the bag.
“We were the fourth fastest car around here this weekend, and seventh in the race is what we would have deserved.
“There’s nothing we can do about it now, but we obviously need to improve our reliability for the forthcoming races.”
Fastest lap 1m16.864s on lap 76 (+2.604s, 11th)
Pit-stops Two: laps 20 (5.1s) and 72 (4.1s) [Prime/Back-Up/Option]
“This was a disappointing race for me.
“The first stint was really tough – I’d started on the Ultrasoft and was looking to run longer than the Hypersoft runners, but I had too much degradation and couldn’t manage it. Then I lost a lot of time at my first pit-stop, and that also lost me track position.
“My final stint – on the Hypersoft – was a bit quicker, and I could take the fight to the cars in front, but obviously Monaco is no place at which to overtake.
“We were expecting more, but I still think we’ve taken a step forward with our qualifying pace. But I think we need to really focus on improving our car performance so we’re better placed to score points.”
“It’s bitterly disappointing to be walking away from the most prestigious grand prix of the year with no points – but, sometimes, that’s motor racing.
“It’s made even more frustrating by the fact that Fernando had driven a faultless race and, through no fault of his own, was forced to park the car with a transmission problem on lap 53.
“Stoffel had limited opportunities to make progress from his 12th position on the grid. But he kept his nose clean all afternoon, managed to recover a flat-spot, and pushed all the way to the flag.
“There are positives to take away from the weekend: our pace on Saturday was a clear improvement, and our upgrades continue to deliver on the track. There’s a lot more work still to be done, but we head to Canada feeling confident that we’re headed in the right direction.”