McLaren Honda had a breakthrough race in Monaco today as Jenson Button not only started the race in the top ten but the 2009 world champion went on to score the Woking based outfit’s first points of the season but not only that the first points of their new partnership with Honda.
Button came home in eighth place earning the team four points. Although one side of the garage were happy on Fernando Alonso’s side of the garage there was disappointment as the Spaniard retired from the race following a gearbox failure.
Prior to the race Fernando Alonso stated that he hoped that the team would score points in Monte Carlo however for the Spaniard it wasn’t to be. Alonso was also left wondering why he was given a five second time penalty during his first stop following a first lap incident with Sahara Force India Formula One Team’s Nico Hulkenberg. Speaking following the race the double world champion stated:
‘At the start, I don't think I deserved the penalty [for the incident with Hulkenberg]. At that particular moment, I don't know what else I could have done.
“Most significantly, it’s a pity we couldn’t finish the race today. The car started to upshift in a really strange way on the lap before I stopped; then, on the first corner, I had no braking. The car stayed in neutral and I couldn’t put it in gear.
“That’s frustrating because we could have had both cars in the point for the first time this season. We need to keep improving the car to ensure these sorts of things don’t happen again. Still, having these problems this year is good, because it means we won’t repeat them next year.”ve
Fernando Alonso may have left Monaco disappointed in contrast his team mate Jenson Button was delighted with his performance saying that the MP4-30 had great race pace. The Woking based outfit’s performance this weekend just shows how hard they have worked with Honda in recent months and weeks and they will be hoping to use their result in Monaco as a foundation to build on for more points finishes over the course of the season starting next time out in Canada.
Speaking following the race Jenson Button stated:
‘It’s been a positive day for us. We were hoping to score a point today, and we scored four. I certainly didn’t expect to finish eighth.
“At the start I lost a position to Nico [Hulkenberg], but got it back by going around the outside of him at Turn Three on the first lap, which was good fun. Once I got past Pastor [Maldonado], my race was basically about turning quali lap after quali lap: it was flat-out.
“That was tough – in fact it was pretty physical out there – but I really enjoyed it.
“I’m really happy for the team – we’ve worked hard to get into this position, and they deserve this. We have work to do, but this is a hugely positive step for us.’
McLaren Honda’s result today means that only the Manor Marussia F1 Team are yet to score points this season. Speaking after seeing his team score points for the first time this season, McLaren Honda Racing Director Eric Boullier commented saying:
‘Since the beginning of the season we’ve been consistent in our messaging: we’re all working extremely hard, and the result of that arduous toil is steady improvement.
“Today, thanks to Jenson’s eighth place, our renewed McLaren-Honda partnership was rewarded with its first world championship points – a result that underlines that steady improvement.
“Okay, we’ve now squirrelled away four world championship points, but, although Jenson drove very well, we won’t waste time celebrating that milestone. Yes, it’s encouraging, but our ambitions run to far greater heights than eighth places. And we’ll achieve them, believe me.
“For Fernando, finally, this afternoon was another frustrating one, and we’re still investigating the cause of his retirement. He, too, drove very well, and, had his car proved reliable, would also have scored world championship points.’
Honda R&D senior managing officer of motorsport Yasuhisa Arai commented by saying:
‘Thanks to Jenson's steady run, and the team's effort to improve the power unit’s driveability for Monaco, we earned our first points of the season today. It feels like we’ve now finally arrived at the start-line of the race calendar.
“As for Fernando, he left the garage feeling confident that he could finish in the points. He was running well in the race – and I also felt confident that we could see both cars in the top 10 for the first time this season – but, unfortunately, a drive-fail warning popped up and ended his race prematurely.;As always, McLaren-Honda will keep pushing as a team and work towards better results at the next race.’
© Ben Johnston 2015