2016 Canadian Grand Prix – race report

Canadian Grand Prix 2016

"A day to forget"

Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Sunday June 12

After several races that have demonstrated steadily building momentum, this afternoon’s grand prix was a disappointing one for the whole McLaren-Honda team.

Fernando Alonso capitalised on the first-corner confusion to move swiftly up to eighth place, but he was soon overwhelmed by the faster cars behind him, who demoted him to 10th in short order. He switched from the Option tyre to the Back-Up tyre on lap 17, and took it to the end of the race – a commendable achievement. He ultimately finished 11th.

Jenson Button retired on lap nine while running in 11th position. The team is still investigating the cause of his retirement.


Fastest Lap:1m17.307s on lap 67 (+1.708s, 13th)
Pitstops:One: lap 17 (8.00s) [Option/Back-Up]

“A tough race – we didn’t have the pace to be competitive today.” 

“I enquired about the possibility of fitting fresh tyres for the last few laps, but I guess it was a little too much of a risk: at that point we were 11th and stood to score a point or two at the end if something were to have happened ahead of us.

“Still, I’d done more than 50 laps on those tyres – and the two-stoppers were a lot faster than me. I guess we were a bit unlucky – we really needed some rain or a Safety Car to put us back in the fight.

“Ultimately, I think our strategy was the right one – it was the quickest way home.

“Anyway, we’ll now work hard to try to improve the pace for the next race.”


Fastest Lap:1m19.456s on lap 5 (+3.857s, 21st)
Pitstops:- [started on Prime] 

“I radioed in to say I had a terminal problem, and I looked in my rear-view mirror and saw a lot of smoke and sparks. I had no warning – the car just failed as I came out of the hairpin. The engine was still running, but I turned it off anyway.

“It’s a shame, since I was saving a lot of fuel at the time, and I had DRS on every lap too, so I could save even more fuel. That could have made a massive difference later in the race.

“It’s so often the way, though, isn’t it? You save a lot of fuel for later in the race, but it doesn’t last…”

ERIC BOULLIER - Racing director, McLaren-Honda

“Bluntly, today was a day to forget.

“Having qualified adequately yesterday, both our drivers started this afternoon’s race well enough, and they both ran pretty solidly in the early stages.

“After just nine laps, however, Jenson was forced to retire his car, owing to a fault whose exact nature we’re still in the process of determining.

“Thereafter, Fernando did as well as he could, but, in the absence of the rain that we’d half-expected might come, he was unable to finish higher than 11th.

“Clearly, the fact that we’re therefore leaving Canada with no world championship points to add to our tally is disappointing. 

“However, one of the upsides of such setbacks is that, in Formula 1, there’s always another race just around the corner – in this case just a few days away in fact.

“Already, therefore, we’ve turned our attention to the challenge of a brand-new circuit, in Baku, where we hope to put up a better show than we did here in Montreal today.

“Finally, on behalf of all at McLaren-Honda, I want to extend our heartfelt sympathies to all those affected, and grieving, in the wake of the appalling atrocity that occurred in Orlando, Florida, in the early hours of this morning.”

YUSUKE HASEGAWA - Honda R&D head of F1 project & executive chief engineer

“It was a disappointing result to miss out on points today, although Fernando had put in a strategic, very long stint on Back-Up tyres to mix up the race.

“The power-hungry nature of this circuit means that it was always going to be difficult for us to finish in the points unless there were more lucky opportunities on track. We’ll further push to improve our race pace performance going forward.

“At the moment, our ICE data on Jenson’s car isn’t showing any signs of issues, so his retirement cause is unknown. We’ll investigate this once the car is back in the garage.”