April 6th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - McLaren recorded a double retirement in Bahrain, to the disappointment of the team and drivers. Clutch failures ended both drivers' races prematurely, ending their chances of recording a third successive double points finish.
Until the Bahrain Grand Prix, McLaren's 2014 season had started very well. A double podium in Australia, followed by a double points finish in Malaysia, meant McLaren were looking like they could establish themselves quite firmly in second place in the Constructors' Championship in the early part of the season. But in Bahrain in all went wrong with technical problems on both cars.
Until their double retirement, McLaren looked like finishing with both cars in the points for the third race in succession. Jenson Button reported good pace and McLaren felt he could have possibly challenged for the podium if not for his retirement. Kevin Magnussen felt less positive about his pace, mentioning that he was not as quick as he expected.
Despite their poor luck, both drivers remain optimistic about their chances of good results in the Chinese Grand Prix in two weeks time.
Here's what the McLaren drivers had to say after the Bahrain Grand Prix:
Jenson Button: "In terms of pace, we took a step forward this weekend. Moreover, our degradation was positive and I think we did a very good job understanding our tyres. Only one team were demonstrably quicker than us today – Mercedes – but sadly they were a lot quicker than us. Having said that, our long-run pace was very good, especially over the last few laps, so I reckon we could have raced very hard to the finish on the Primes. But unfortunately I didn’t get that opportunity.
"It’s tough for all the team, because they all worked really well and really hard. We were set for fifth place at worst and a podium finish at best, and that would have been a very positive outcome for all of us. In summary, then, there was lots of good racing out there – I can’t even remember how many cars I overtook but it was quite a lot – and I think it was the same for almost everyone out there. I really enjoyed it, in fact. Formula 1 may have new power units and technical regs this year, but it’s clearly every bit as good as it ever was in terms of on-track spectacle."
Kevin Magnussen: "That wasn’t a great race for me. The start wasn’t ideal – I lost three positions – and after that we just didn’t have enough pace to make progress towards the front. We’d been expecting that the colder conditions might help us, but, as things panned out, we were actually a little less strong here than we were in Malaysia, for some reason. We’ll analyse that carefully, and I’m sure we’ll learn from it. We’re learning all the time, in fact.
"It’s disappointing that we didn’t score points today – two DNFs is never pleasant for any team – but we’ll approach the Chinese Grand Prix with the aim of doing quite a bit better than we did here in Bahrain."