McLaren-Renault may have scored double points for the second race-running in the 2018 Formula 1 season, but the team’s first driver, Fernando Alonso, is adamant the Bahrain Grand Prix, “was not good enough in terms of performance.”
After starting the race outside the points, in 13th, Alonso was able to move forward up the pack, eventually finishing P7, one place ahead of his team mate, Stoffel Vandoorne.
“We need to raise our game,” Alonso commented post-race. It wasn’t all negativity, however; “we did a good job at the start, overtaking a couple of cars.”
The result has seen McLaren-Renault jump to third in the 2018 Constructors Championship, overtaking Red Bull Racing after their disappointing double retirement.
“[McLaren’s] double-points finish is thoroughly deserved,” commented Eric Boullier, McLaren’s Racing Director.
However, Boullier, Alonso and McLaren’s other driver, Stoffel Vandoorne, all agreed that there was room to improve ahead of the Chinese Grand Prix, which is back-to-back with the Bahrain Grand Prix.
“We just cannot underperform again,” Alonso said post-race in Bahrain. “We struggled in every session and had quite a poor qualifying” – in reference to both McLaren’s being jumped by a Toro Rosso, Renault, Haas and Force India for Saturday’s final Q3 session.
“We still have a lot of analysis and work to do to understand why our race pace is so different,” commented Stoffel Vandoorne, throwing more shade on McLaren’s apparent inability to perform in qualifying.
Eric Boullier believes that Saturday’s qualifying in Bahrain was indeed a “tough day,” and that McLaren’s eventual result was a “pleasing reward for the hard work the whole team put in overnight to ready our cars for today’s race.”
Boullier didn’t seem to share Alonso’s pessimistic appraisal of the situation, instead he choose to reiterate post-race, “Congratulations to both [drivers] for today’s excellent performances.”
He did, however, agree with the drivers that there was a prevalent problem with the team’s performance in qualifying.
When asked about the quick turnaround between races, Boullier said, “[we] turn our attention to our qualifying performance to make an improvement in China in a few days’ time.”
It’s clear then that McLaren have noted an issue with the way their cars work in qualifying. It’s unclear if Alonso’s earlier comments relate merely to qualifying or the entire racing situation.
He did state earlier that the car struggled in “every session.”
McLaren-Renault will return on Friday the 13th for the Chinese Grand Prix, hosted in Shanghai.
The first ninety minute practice session is set to commence at 10am local time.