McLaren kept this one quiet, and it’s probably no surprise. The Italian Grand Prix won by Lewis Hamilton was McLaren’s 50th race without a victory – yes, you read that correctly. Jenson Button, Brazil, 2012 for those of you keeping score at home. Hamilton was his teammate that day in his final drive for McLaren; since leaving for Mercedes, Hamilton has won 19 of those 50 races, and Nico Rosberg has added 10 of his own. Mercedes 29, McLaren 0. As career moves go, Hamilton’s was one of the better ones.
McLaren, like Red Bull, Toro Rosso and (let’s face it) anyone who doesn’t have a Mercedes engine this season had their eyes on Singapore last weekend as a race where they could score big points at a specific circuit that bears little resemblance to anywhere else on the calendar. More corners (23) than any other track and no straights of note at least had McLaren in the fight for points, so went the theory. Fernando Alonso had won in Singapore twice and had five podiums, while teammate Jenson Button had twice finished second. So their drivers were up to the task. The car? Not so much.
Post-Singapore, the final six races of this season will be tough going for McLaren, and can you imagine the tension this coming weekend at Suzuka at Honda’s home race? This week on ‘The Inside Line’, we take a look at both Grands Prix, reviewing Singapore last Sunday, and looking ahead to Suzuka this weekend. Arriving at the circuit this coming Thursday, a year after leaving it getting belted by rain and wondering about the fate of Jules Bianchi, will be a strange experience, that’s for sure.
Episode 119 of ‘The Inside Line’. This week. Check it out. Also worth checking out: this piece on McLaren’s former employee who has kicked on since he left. Not sure it was supposed to be funny, but the use of words those young people of today use made me laugh. As did “corporate drivel”, which is still very much alive and well if you’ve ever read a McLaren press release. “Mettlesome”, said the Frenchman “speaking” in English …