Reading about McLaren’s struggles in F1 is not a new phenomenon. For the past few years, the story in the Woking camp has been repeating itself, and this season is nothing new. But their rivals were somehow perplexed at the current state of affairs.
Their former driver and academy graduate, Kevin Magnussen believed that it was not the place for them to be. “I am quite surprised. When I was there, it was a very clear it is a great team, a very big and beautiful team”, said the Dane.
“It is a shame for sure. I am happy for us [Haas] that we can compete with them and beat them at times but it is not where they belong.”
Renault struck an engine deal with them at the start of the season and their fortunes were expected to change. But Nico Hulkenberg admitted that the lack of pace was not what he expected.
“In qualifying, they are not so strong as on Sunday. Actually, I had expected that they are stronger on Sunday in France, but they weren’t. They are not as strong this year as I would have thought”, he said.
But his teammate, Carlos Sainz seemed more optimistic. “I think we are especially [surprised] after the strong weekend they had in Barcelona. In F1 you never know, suddenly they found a small issue and they are back on pace here and we need to wake up again”, said the Spaniard.
“It is strange, but that is something that always happens.”
Esteban Ocon also echoed what Sainz said. “To be honest, yes [I’m surprised]. We were expecting to be fighting with them in France but it was not the case. But you cant underestimate McLaren. I’m sure they’ll be back”, stated the Frenchman.
Alonso remained supportive of the team, insisting that their pace was not so far off Renault and Haas during race day. He felt that things taken at face value would provide a false image of their performance.