Having finished the Australian Grand Prix last of the classified runners, Stoffel Vandoorne concedes that is McLaren-Honda’s genuine position in the rankings – “last.”
The Belgian racer brought his Honda-powered MCL32 home in 13th place on Sunday, two laps down on race winner Sebastian Vettel.
While a disappointing result, Vandoorne did at least see the chequered flag, something McLaren-Honda feared would be out of reach.
“It was very difficult,” he told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure.
“At the pre-race briefing, when I heard all I had to do, I thought that we would never finish the race. Frankly I did not expect to finish.
“This is probably the only positive point.
“We went to the end, but we were never able to fight for anything.
“We lack so much power that it is impossible to fight. We’re really driving in another category.
“We are more or less the last. And that was true. Our package is really not competitive.”
Unhappy with the situation in which McLaren-Honda find themselves, rookie driver Vandoorne admits it doesn’t make for an enjoyable Sunday afternoon.
“I’m not happy and that’s normal,” he added.
“When you are 3 seconds down, you do not take pleasure because you’re not really racing. Too bad.
“I would have liked to show more but I think I have extracted the maximum of our potential.
“New parts are expected for China and Bahrain. We will try to improve but we know that it will take a long time.
“The next races will just be as difficult.”