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.