“That was the hardest point I’ve ever earned”
Marina Bay Circuit, Sunday September 21
The 2014 Singapore Grand Prix was a disappointing race for the entire team.
Kevin Magnussen’s race was badly affected by extreme heat build-up in his car’s cockpit, which was exacerbated by the slows laps spent behind the Safety Car during the middle of the race. One of the few runners inside the top 10 who needed to change tyres during the post-Safety Car stint, he fought back bravely on fresh rubber, finally clinching a single point for 10th on the final lap.
Jenson’s race seemed to be coming together as the grand prix entered its final stages – he was running a strong seventh, set to overtake Valtteri Bottas for sixth, when a power box failure shut his car down just eight laps from the finish.
On a happier note, our pit-stop crew performed admirably today – their super-consistent stop-times of 2.23s, 2.31s, 2.32s, 2.33s and 2.34s ranked 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 5th and 8th overall today.
Started 9th (8th following Rosberg’s pit-lane start)
Fastest lap 1m51.639s on lap 48 (+1.222s, 2nd)
Pitstops Three: laps 13 (2.33s), 26 (2.34s) and 46 (2.31s) [Opt-Pri-Opt-Opt]
“It was a very, very tough grand prix.
“During the race, I don’t know if there was something wrong with the car, but my seat started getting very hot, which made things extremely uncomfortable for me.
“Without that, I think we could have done better than 10th, but at least we got that one point. It’s better than nothing.
“It was the hardest point I’ve ever earned.”
Started 11th (10th following Rosberg’s pit-lane start)
Finished Retired – 52 laps, power box failure
Fastest lap 1m53.707s on lap 16 (+3.290s, 16th)
Pitstops Two: laps 14 (2.23s) and 31 (2.32s) [Opt-Pri-Pri]
“I was cueing things up for the end of the grand prix: I’d been looking after the tyres for the whole stint, and I knew the last five laps were when things were going to get tricky for Valtteri ahead of me.
“I’d just switched the car into a different mode, and the chase was starting to get quite exciting. Then, a few corners later, the car just died going into the hairpin. Going across the bridge, it just turned off, so I had to stop.
“I’d been really looking forward to the end of the race, because I definitely think I’d have got past Valtteri. But it just didn’t work out – I was pretty unlucky.”
Racing director, McLaren Mercedes
“To score just a single world championship point, after two hours’ toil in intense heat and humidity, is of course extremely disappointing for the entire team.
“For Jenson, who was driving exceptionally well in seventh place, cleverly optimising a tricky two-stop strategy, to be forced to retire with power box failure was an especially bitter blow.
“For Kevin, who had driven such an excellent qualifying lap here yesterday, this afternoon was gruelling; there’s no other word. His first stint was satisfactory, but in stint two he began to experience tyre degradation to a greater degree than we’d predicted, forcing us to convert his strategy from a two-stopper to a three-stopper.
“To add injury to insult, he was then subjected to severe bodily discomfort as his car’s cockpit began to overheat, necessitating his holding his arms aloft, first one then t’other, in an effort to direct cooling air down his sleeves and inside his race-suit, which was an unusually painful complication for him.
“In the end, after an impressively plucky drive in extremely challenging conditions, he was able to score a single point for the team. It was scant consolation, of course it was, but it’s indicative of his tremendous fighting spirit, and I commend him for it.”