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2018 team and drivers review: McLaren

A look back at how the McLaren drivers and team fared in the 2018 season. It’s now six years since McLaren won a race and this season was another one to forget for them. In his final season, Fernando Alonso delivered exceptional performances like he has throughout his career and blew team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne away.

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2018 team and drivers review: McLaren
Fuente imagen: Jerry Andre - MotorLat

Constructors’ championship | 62 points (6th) 

Following the split with Honda, we found out McLaren’s true performance this year on the chassis and aero side – and it wasn’t a very pretty ending for them. You know only need to compare them to Red Bull to see that. 

A good start – with large help from Fernando Alonso – suggested they could challenge for fourth in the standings, but as the year went on, their chief competitors started to overhaul them in terms of pace and in the standings. It would have been a lowly 7th had Force India not gone into administration. 

McLaren’s last victory came at the 2012 Brazilian Grand Prix and they don’t look likely to end that anytime soon.  

With two young drivers in the team next year, it’s very much a rebuilding phase for this once mighty team at present. The pressure continues to rise for Zak Brown and the rest of the squad at Woking. 

Fernando Alonso | 50 points (11th) 

He may have finished outside the top 10 in the standings, but Fernando Alonso had an outstanding final (?) season in Formula One.  

Alonso declared ‘’now we can fight’’ following a brilliant 5th place at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix. Thanks to having a reasonably competitive car in the early stages of the year, the Spaniard demonstrated his unbelievable talent by scoring points in the first five races. 

In Baku, he gave us another example of his extraordinary fighting spirit. It looked a certainty that the two-time world champion would retire after sustaining heavy damage and a flat tyre after contact with Sirotkin, but he managed to crawl back to the pits. Remarkably, despite the damage, he dragged the car to P7.  

40 of Alonso’s 50 points were scooped up in the opening 10 rounds as the pace of the car faded more and more as the season went on.  

His only points finishes in the second half of the season were at Hungary and Singapore; not surprisingly on tracks where straight-line speed was far less important. 

For the second time in his career, Alonso outqualified his team-mate at every single meeting during the season. It’s an astonishing achievement to do that. The Spanish star also outscored Vandoorne by 38 points. If he had a better package, you would imagine he’d have stayed in F1. 

Yet again, Alonso proved his greatness. He can be very proud of his stellar career.  

Stoffel Vandoorne | 12 points (16th) 

2018 was a nightmare of a year for the Belgian as he got smashed by Fernando Alonso. He wasn’t helped by having such poor machinery and making his performance look worse in comparison to some of the Spaniard’s former team-mates.  

It started quite well with three points-scoring finishes in the first four rounds, and that included a superb drive where he finished P8 after a terrible start dropped him to the back of the field on lap 1. He was also very close to Alonso in qualifying at the opening three events. 

Like McLaren’s season, his year fell away as 2018 went on.  

Qualifying, in particular, turned into a disaster. In fact, Sergey Sirotkin was the only driver who got knocked out more times in Q1 (16) than the Belgian did (15) across 2018.  

The one bright spot for Vandoorne were some of his good drives in races towards the end of the year. Mexico would be the best of those as he delivered a brilliant drive to finish P8 following a bad first lap once again. 

While he got thumped by Alonso, his average gap is qualifying to the Spaniard was smaller compared to some of Fernando’s previous team-mates. It was exacerbated due to where they usually qualified on the grid. 

A lot of technical problems and from the outside what seemed like a lack of support from the team didn’t help either. He never got the full chance to show his massive talent. 

Vandoorne has moved to Formula E and it’ll be interesting how he does in that series.  

2018 stats 

Alonso vs Vandoorne 

Points: 50-12 

Qualifying head-to-head: 21-0 

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