The Japanese Grand Prix was a miserable one for McLaren, while for Toro Rosso and Red Bull there were positive signs
Fernando Alonso’s ire at the Japanese Grand Prix after he was penalised for leaving the track and gaining an advantage after being pushed off by Lance Stroll at the chicane might have been the low point of the Spaniard’s weekend. But for the team, qualifying in Japan will be a moment they would rather forget. Suzuka’s magnificent layout is one of the great tests in F1, it rewards a good car and exposes the failings of others. McLaren looked terribly vulnerable. They were comfortably the slowest cars in qualifying – a statement that would have been dismissed as comic a few short years ago. Yet here for the first time this season they failed to beat even one of the Williams. Their choice of tyres for the weekend was wrong, for which the sporting director Gil de Ferran took responsibility despite the decision having been made before his appointment. But it made little difference, the weaknesses of their car were displayed here perhaps as at no other track this season. Work on next year’s McLaren has long been their focus and on this showing any improvement would be a step forward.
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