The Brit’s advance up the order was thanks to his three-stop strategy working well. However he gave himself a lot of work to do after a terrible first lap, citing the “slow” warm-up lap for his start woes.
Discussing his start in a post-race press release, he said “The lap to the grid was very slow, which hurt us, and my start wasn’t great. I had no grip, so Turn One was a mess.” He added that he was “unlucky” to end up 17th after lap one but hailed a similar approach to the Chinese Grand Prix by the team as saving his day.
McLaren put him on a three-stop race to the flag, which meant that he progressed through the field as others lost the 20 seconds for making the additional stop. Praising the team for their call, he said “To finish eighth shows what a good job the team did with the strategy. I don’t know whether we’ve improved our package or not, but we certainly beat some cars that we possibly shouldn’t have beaten.”
Looking to the next few races, the 33-year-old is hopeful that the performance kick starts an “upward trend” for the team.
However it was a double points finish for the Woking squad and his team-mate Sergio Perez put in another decent drive, particularly in the first two stints where he was battling well within the top 10. The Mexican advanced from ninth on the grid to eighth but felt that he did not maximise the car’s potential.
Whilst it “wasn’t the race” he had hoped for, Perez felt that it had “been a strong weekend overall” for the well-known team. He also looked ahead to the Monaco Grand Prix, saying that he feels they “can do a slightly better job at Monaco” and he has his hopes set on “gradually” closing “the gap to the cars in front” over the next few races.
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic