2018 United States Grand Prix
Only one McLaren finished the United States Grand Prix, after a dramatic start in which Fernando retired at the end of the first lap after sustaining irreparable damage during an incident with another car.
Stoffel, meanwhile, starting in 16th, was lucky to weave his way through the melee without significant damage, despite being hit more than once on the first lap. The team opted for an ambitious two-stop strategy and he made his first pit-stop early during a Virtual Safety Car period. He showed strong pace in the final stages to finish 13th after closing up to the pack in front, although wasn’t able to make any overtakes stick.
Started 13th (due to penalties for GAS, HAR, VER)
Finished DNF (incident, one lap)
Fastest lap N/A
“My race today lasted only a few hundred meters.
“There was a lot of action in Turn Four, which was a surprise, because it’s not normal to overtake into that high-speed section. Three cars were trying to overtake each other and a couple of guys around me were very optimistic, misjudging their position and manoeuvres a bit, and the result was that some cars ended up in the wall and one of those was mine.
“It’s always the same story, it just keeps happening. At the start, people are trying to bump everyone else, the same as when you have a rental car! No one does it on purpose, but today they played bowling with my car again, like they did in Spa.
“It’s a shame. We came out here early to prepare for this race and it only lasted a couple of corners.”
Started 16th (due to penalties for GAS, HAR, VER)
Fastest lap 1m39.240s on lap 42 (+1.848s, 7th)
Pit-stops Two: laps 10 (2.60s) [Supersoft/Soft] and 40 (2.90s) [Soft/Soft]
“In the end today’s result wasn’t too bad, especially under the circumstances. We made a reasonable start with all the carnage that happened around us – we got touched left, right and centre on the first lap which wasn’t ideal.
“We finished 13th, after deciding to go for a two-stop strategy, and pitted under the Virtual Safety Car. A few of the cars around us did a one-stop – it’s hard to say which was best, but we were quick when it mattered, and we beat a couple of cars again.
“In the end, I think it was the maximum possible for us today.”
Gil de Ferran
“It’s never a good feeling when one car retires at the end of the first lap and we come away from a grand prix empty-handed.
“It’s really sad and unfortunate that Fernando was hit just after the start and incurred too much damage for us to continue, particularly given the decent pace that Stoffel showed.
“We put Stoffel on an aggressive two-stop strategy and tried to profit from the preferable tyre allocation we had going into the race. However, not only did we lose too much time early on with traffic, despite the significant pace advantage we had in the closing stages, overtaking proved to be very difficult.
“We say goodbye to Austin with a sense of disappointment, but also encouraged by the positives we can take away from this weekend.”