McLaren: Fifth place isn’t where we want to be, but it’s one place higher than we were before the race

Team and drivers report from the Belgian Grand Prix, Round 11 of the 2013 F1 World Championship, at Spa-Francorchamps.

Jenson Button: MP4-28A-04:
“We were trying for a one-stop strategy at the start of the race, then we adapted that to a two-stopper later on. We gave it a go, but our pace still wasn’t quite as good as that of the cars in front of us, so we couldn’t really chase them down at the end of the race. Having said that, it was decent race for us. Moreover, as always, it was really fun to race around this magnificent circuit – I really enjoyed driving the car today. In terms of performance there’s been a small but definite improvement, so we should be pleased with the progress we’ve made. I’m pretty happy with the feel of the car now, in fact; okay, there’s still room for improvement in terms of pace, but the good thing is that we know which areas we should be focusing on. So I’m looking forward to Monza – another great circuit – where hopefully we can take another small step. We’re not going to be fighting at the front, we know that; instead we’re concentrating on ourselves, gradually understanding more about the car, and progressively improving things. There are still a lot of grands prix left this season, and we can enjoy some of them, I’m sure.”

Sergio Perez: MP4-28A-02:
“My race started pretty well. I managed to make up a couple of positions at the start, and then a few more in the first 10 laps, and at that point things were looking pretty good. I was happy with the balance of the car and we were on a good strategy. Then came the drive-through, and after that it was always going to be tricky to score any points. What happened with Romain [Grosjean] was unfortunate. I got ahead of him, and took the corner, but I now understand where the penalty came from, even if I’m naturally disappointed for myself and for the team. These things are always difficult, but the team spirit at McLaren is unbelievably strong and now, together, we simply have to move on. What we must now do is look ahead to Monza, and do our very best to make up for the points we missed out on here at Spa.”

Martin Whitmarsh, Team principal, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
“Jenson made a brilliant start to move from sixth place on the grid to fourth place after the first corner, and thereafter he drove a typically faultless race to finish just 13 seconds behind a podium finish. At one point we were considering opting for a one-stop strategy for him, and, if we’d been able to do that successfully, he may well have got that podium finish. As things turned out, it wasn’t to be; but, as I say, he drove an excellent race, and the eight points he scored were richly deserved, lifting our constructors’ world championship ranking to fifth place. Clearly, fifth place isn’t where we want to be, but it’s one place higher than we were this morning. As for Checo, he’ll be disappointed with having got involved in an incident with Romain, because, had he not done so, he’d definitely have scored points too.

“So we’re a bit disappointed, overall, of course we are, but equally we’re pleased to see firm evidence of underlying improvement in terms of pace. We’re still not where we want to be, but the trend is clearly in the right direction.

“Looking forward, then, from here we go to Italy, where we hope that that underlying pace improvement will produce better on-track results. Having said that, we never under-estimate our opponents, and we’re far from complacent about our chances. Nonetheless, we’ll be doing our utmost to put on a good show at Monza, a magnificent racetrack whose unique ambience always creates a very special vibe. (McLaren F1)

Subbed by AJN.

  • Hawk

    Sergio who?

  • lawl

    McLaren should complain about Sergio’s penalty.

    We all saw Vergne forcing Hulkenberg completely out around lap 35, not only forcing, it was a trully aggresive action, very different than Sergio’s overtaking.

    Franchutes not elegible for penalties? fk that…