McLaren moved off the foot of the Formula 1 constructors’ championship table after claiming a double points finish in Hungary on Sunday, led by Fernando Alonso in sixth place.
McLaren ventured to the Hungaroring hopeful of its chances given the reduced importance of engine power and straight line speed, a flawed area for the team with its Honda power unit.
Alonso and teammate Stoffel Vandoorne started seventh and eighth respectively in Hungary, but moved in opposite directions off the start.
Alonso entered an early battle with Toro Rosso’s Carlos Sainz Jr., eventually pulling away after pitting before enjoying a trouble-free run to sixth place at the checkered flag, recording the fastest lap of the race in the process.
Vandoorne was able to hold on to P10 and score his first point of the season, with the combined score lifting McLaren above Sauber to ninth place in the constructors’ championship.
“We were probably looking at seventh or eighth position today, but with Ricciardo out of the race, sixth place became possible, and we grabbed it,” Alonso said.
“Still, we worked for that result all weekend – no mistakes, good practice sessions, strong qualifying, and then a perfectly executed race.
“There are three or four weekends in a season where we can be competitive, so we need to maximize those and fully capitalize on our potential – and that’s exactly what we did this weekend.
“Races like Spa and Monza are going to be more difficult for us, so let’s just enjoy this result and think about the difficult ones when they come.”
“It’s been quite a positive weekend for me – we came here expecting to be competitive and we were able to run inside the top 10 for the whole weekend,” Vandoorne added.
“When an opportunity like this comes up, we have to grab it with both hands – and we did. Before my stop, we were looking at the gap behind and trying to over-cut people behind us, but I made a small mistake at the stop, locked up and stopped too long.
“Nonetheless, my pace in the race was encouraging – we were definitely quicker than the Force Indias here, but overtaking is very difficult. In the end, we got points so it’s a good weekend for the team.”