Technical issues compound McLaren's Mexico frustration

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F1 Grand Prix, GP Mexico, Autódromo Hermanos Rodriguezmx

The happiest chaps around the grid were not to be found at McLaren after the Mexican Grand Prix, with both its drivers failing to make any progress from their starting postions, and hence finish out of the points.

The team split the strategies, Jenson pitting once and Fernando twice, in an effort to get the best out of the tyres on the slippery track and make progress through the traffic. On a circuit at which it is notoriously difficult to overtake, and despite their best efforts and some hard battles on track, but neither driver believed they really had the pace to really make an impression anyway.

The traffic did cause quite a bit of frustration, with Fernando Alonso in particular getting annoyed when his race engineer asked him to push just ahead of his stop. The Spaniard calmly, but strongly replied: "Yes, I'm pushing since lap 1, but we are in traffic for 15 laps, in a car that should be in the race. So... do your job and I'll do mine".

Alonso was obviously calmer after the race, but was still disappointed with the race.

“I guess we could have done a little bit better today, but unfortunately on the first lap we seemed always to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We also had a small incident, which put us in a difficult position as we were in traffic for the remainder of the race, as we sat behind Carlos [Sainz] for 40 laps or so.

“We also had a small problem in our second pit-stop, which didn’t help.

“We had one tyre that lasted a long, long time and another that lasted much less long, so Jenson and I went for different strategies, but, even so, neither of us finished in the points.

“At the end of the day, when you have the pace everything is easier, so that’s what we need to focus on.”

Jenson Button was much happier with his own race, but rued the fact that even this wasn't good enough for points.

“We did a one-stop strategy, but the problem for us – for everyone, I think – was that you just couldn’t overtake. We lost so much time in the first 30 laps of the stint on the Back-Up [tyres] in traffic behind other cars. I was stuck behind Kevin [Magnussen], then Fernando, then Carlos, and then [Jolyon] Palmer. It was really difficult to overtake but I eventually got past them all. Even if we’d had clear air ahead of us I still don’t think we could have finished 10th though.

“The actual pace was good during the race, but it’s just so difficult to pass here. You wouldn’t think so with such a long straight, but out of the last corner you just can’t stay close. When you do get past, you suddenly find the time, but in the process you’ve lost so much compared with the people who stopped on lap one.

“All in all, it was a really unusual race, and it’s a pity because we could have finished a lot higher up had we gambled, but you don’t know that in advance. It was still a fun race for me and I definitely got the best out of the car today – and that’s all you can hope for.”

Traffic issues and the lack of progress at the start were compounded by technical issues on the power unit as well.

“We also had some issues with our power units", Yusuke Hasegawa confirmed.

"Fernando suffering from an anomaly in the ICE whereby we were forced to detune the output, and Jenson showed a temperature rise in the ERS whereby he wasn’t able to use the maximum performance mode at the end of the race. I am mostly disappointed as it feels like we have unfinished business and couldn't challenge enough on the track.