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McLaren’s best chance yet of F1 points ends in double DNF

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McLaren saw its best chance yet of scoring some Formula 1 points in 2017 end in disappointment as both Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne crashed out late in the Monaco Grand Prix.

Button was never in contention for a top-10 finish after a grid penalty left him last at the start, with the one-off returnee retiring following a bizarre clash with Pascal Wehrlein with 20 laps to go.

Vandoorne had made a longer first stint work well to sit 10th behind the safety car, but immediately came under fire from Sergio Perez on the restart.

Struggling to defend with cold tires and cold brakes, Vandoorne failed to turn in at Sainte Devote and instead went straight on into the barrier, ending his race.

“It’s a shame we haven’t come away with any points this weekend. I think we’d all hoped to get a little bit more out of the weekend,” Vandoorne said.

“Towards the end of the race, I knew it would be difficult at the restart. It’s always difficult to heat up the super-softs, and we knew we wouldn’t be able to cover Sergio and Felipe [Massa], who’d switched to the option behind the Safety Car.

“That wasn’t an option for us – when you’re in the top 10, you’ve got to keep your position. It was hard to get the tires and brakes up to temperature, and I just had nowhere to go at Turn 1, unfortunately.

“So, this isn’t the result we wanted this weekend, but there are still positives to take away from Monaco: we may still be lacking overall performance, but we’ve made some useful steps forward this weekend.

“There’s still a lot of work to do, but I remain optimistic.”

Amid continued struggles with engine partner Honda, Monaco marked McLaren’s most realistic chance of points so far given the tight and twisting nature of the circuit that places a greater onus on the chassis.

The strength of the MCL32 was proven in qualifying as both Button and Vandoorne made the top 10, marking McLaren’s first double Q3 appearance of the year.

Once again though, the race ended in disappointment, leaving McLaren at the foot of the constructors’ championship after six rounds without a point to its name.

Verstappen doesn’t want F1 season to end after recent run of form

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Max Verstappen says he is not ready for the 2017 Formula 1 season to come to an end after enjoying a run of strong form through the closing stages of the campaign.

Verstappen endured a rocky run of form through to the end of the European season that saw him suffer a number of reliability issues and score just a single podium finish, taking third in China back in April.

However, the Dutchman has rallied to score more points than any other driver in the last five races, including victories in Malaysia and Mexico, as well as a podium finish in Japan.

Verstappen heads into next weekend’s Abu Dhabi Grand Prix chasing a third win of the year to sign off, but joked he does not want the season to end just as he’s got into a good groove.

“We will, of course, try and end the season with a strong result in Abu Dhabi,” Verstappen said. “Last year was actually quite a good race after skipping a pit stop following a spin at Turn 1, it was hard to manage the tires to the end of the race but we did it and finished fourth.

“I would say that my favorite part of the track is at Turns 2 and 3, the fast left, right. It’s also very cool driving underneath the hotel and racing in the darkness with all the lights.

“The final sector at Yas Marina is actually quite technical so you have to be really precise there, but it should also be our strongest part of the track.

“There are quite a few overtaking opportunities to make the race interesting, before the long straight at the hairpin and then at the end of the straight under braking for the next chicane section.

“Abu Dhabi is the last race on the calendar, but I don’t actually want the season to end. I’m really fired up at the moment and I just want to keep going.

“The nice thing will be to spend some time with friends and family over the winter break and then I will look ahead to January and get back into training before it all starts again.”