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Austrian GP: Race team notes - McLaren

NEWS STORY
01/07/2018

Starting from the pit-lane, Fernando Alonso drove with all his customary spirit and fire to take eighth place in today's Austrian Grand Prix - four of the hardest earned world championship points of his long career.

Fernando capitalised on a Virtual Safety Car to make his pit-stop, then relentlessly cut through the pack, benefiting from a handful of retirements ahead of him, then some decisive passing moves, to move into eighth with a handful of laps remaining.

Stoffel endured a difficult race. His front wing was broken in a lap-one tap at the apex of Turn Three; after an over-long pit-stop he spent the first half of his race attempting to steer clear of the leaders as he was lapped.

From early in the race, he began complaining of an intermittent gear-shift, and was forced to retire with a gearbox problem on lap 65.

Fernando Alonso: "I'm very happy - we didn't expect points today, so that was a very nice surprise.

"It was a strange race. I started from the pit-lane, was then running 19th after the first laps, then I got stuck behind a group of cars and wasn't able to run at my proper pace. Also, the front wing we ran was last year's, so we didn't know exactly how it would behave with the rest of the aero package.

"The race was quite chaotic: the hot track temperatures caused a lot of blistering for everybody, but I was able to take care of them and capitalise on that.

"The points were a nice reward, but we need to keep improving. The next race is our home grand prix and we need to be more competitive there."

Stoffel Vandoorne: "It was a normal racing incident on lap one: into Turn Three, there were three or four cars side by side, and that corner closes up at the apex and the exit. There was no way to avoid contact, unfortunately.

"After pitting for a new nose, I came back out in traffic, getting blue flags straight away as the leaders went past me. It was very frustrating to have to let all the cars through.

"Towards the end, I got some clear laps and managed to overtake some cars again. There was some pace in the car - if you look at the lap-times, we were much more competitive today than we were in qualifying. That's a plus.

"The team getting another few points is another positive to take away from a difficult weekend."

Eric Boullier: "Fernando's eighth-place finish was a fine example of his determination and never-say-die attitude. At the start of the race, when he was sat in his car in the garage, a points finish certainly didn't look likely - but he drove superbly, looked after his tyres, and really put the hammer down when it was critical. His pursuit and pass of Charles Leclerc also shows there's a bit more pace in the car on a Sunday than is usually evident on a Saturday. We'll keep working to further unlock that.

"Stoffel's race was always going to be difficult after his lap-one clash at Turn Three. It was just a racing incident - there were a lot of cars side by side - and he was unfortunate to lose out. The first half of his race was dictated by traffic; he had to keep letting the leader past and couldn't get into a rhythm.

"After a difficult couple of grands prix, we head to our home race at Silverstone hopeful of a more rewarding weekend."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Spielberg, here.

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