McLaren recorded a third race outside the points while Toro Rosso and Manor completed the results…
Fernando Alonso: "This wasn’t the easiest race for us. We weren’t very competitive at the beginning, then we had a few issues with the aero behaviour of the car, they slowed me down in the middle stint, but I was able to push a bit harder on the soft tyre at the end of the race. We still need to learn a lot more about this car in order to extract its maximum, but an afternoon like today was extremely useful for us as it enabled us to better understand the car. It was a useful race for me too: my longest stint during winter testing was 12 laps; in Malaysia, I did 22; and here I completed the race, so this is a step forward. Hopefully, we can improve again for Bahrain."
Jenson Button: "Today wasn’t too bad – we’re still fighting at the back of the field, which is a shame, but it’s positive to see that we’re progressing. My middle stint on the Option tyre wasn’t too bad – I don’t think our pace was too bad at all on the softer tyre – but the Prime was a bit trickier in those closing laps. A lot of that was due to all the blue flags and traffic I encountered – they meant the tyre temperatures dropped off quite a bit through the stint. It wasn’t easy. Regarding the collision with Pastor, I thought there was room on the inside – a collision is something you never want to see happen. It was just a misjudgment, I guess. Still, we go to Bahrain hoping for more progress, although the circuit configuration doesn’t suit us, so heading to Europe will hopefully work out a little bit better for the team. We need to improve at every race because we’re quite a way back."
Carlos Sainz: "It was a very difficult race for us today. We started on Prime tyres, but the track was very green and dirty at the beginning, so we immediately suffered a considerable lack of grip. While I was really pushing hard to be on top of Force India for the first stint, unfortunately I made a mistake. It’s a real shame! From then on, as soon as we put the Soft tyres on, the balance came back and I was feeling comfortable with the car. Unfortunately we had an issue with the gearbox, which we still have to investigate, which made us lose more time. Without that problem I think we could’ve been in contention for points."
Max Verstappen: "It’s a disappointing way to end what was being a great race! To be running in the points positions but then have to stop the car so close to the end of the race is very frustrating. I’m obviously not happy with the final result but as a team we did the best job possible today. The car was performing well and even though we are lacking some top speed, the braking and the downforce we have on the car is really good and that helped me to complete some good overtakes, which I enjoyed a lot."
Will Stevens: "A great race for me and the team and one which shows how far we’ve come in a very short space of time. Obviously it feels really good for me to be racing again and to finish the race with both cars is so important for us at this stage of our development. We always knew that when we sorted out the challenges we’d have a reliable car. I didn’t get the best of starts but those sorts of issues are easily resolved and I’m sure we’ll see a lot more progress over the next few races."
Roberto Merhi: "I’m really pleased that we’ve completed another race and this time with both cars, steps which are really important for the team. Looking back across the whole weekend we’ve made a lot of progress since Malaysia and the pace is improving all the time from session to session. I hope we can continue this progress in Bahrain next weekend."