Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Or to take arms against a sea of troubles.
And, by opposing, end them?
This sums up the feeling at McLaren perfectly. Yesterday’s qualification session was a good one on Honda’s terms: No engine death despite Alonso complaining about loss of engine power in his final run, but the Japanese are glad it wasn’t worse than that! However it was a bad one on McLaren’s terms: Only 12th and 16th.
But all in all, that 12th place might be better than many of us thought. The circuit de Gilles Villeneuve is a high power track, demanding for engine and brakes. It is a big deal for a Honda engine to be just out of the top 10 or can we, once again, speak of the Alonso effect?
Make no mistake, Alonso is still 2.24 seconds slower as the phenomenal lap Hamilton put in. But in his own words he felt that he delivered, and, he once again denied it was because of Honda.
“My lap today was just as good as my lap back in Barcelona. Only difference being that the engine has less influence there than it has here. These new cars are suited for my driving style. I feel I can deliver the maximum possible in these cars.“
Of course Fernando wouldn’t be Fernando if it wasn’t for the last sentence in that interview:
“I can’t say it in actual numbers, but if the engine was better we would be in the mix for a much better result. Just look at the time we lose on the straight.“
McLaren engineers did have those numbers and according to them Alonso lost 1.3 seconds on the main straight, at the Montreal circuit. This would mean, with a Mercedes engine in the back, Alonso would’ve taken up the fight to Bottas. P1 and P2 would’ve been out of reach, but at this moment the McLaren boys would celebrate P3 as a victory. And, let’s face it, both Hamilton and Vettel were untouchable during the qualifying session.
The head of Honda’s formula one project, Yusuke Hasegawa, did express feelings of disappointment.
“Of course we can not be satisfied with this result. But it would be wrong if we had brought the engine upgrade to Canada already. It is not completely ready. We would’ve loved to bring it here, because Montreal is a high power track, but it would’ve been a mistake. I can’t give you a date as to when it will come, but we are working hard on it. I hope it will be ready for the race in Baku. And in the mean time we’ll make small adjustments to the current engine.“
“We realise that this is a long term project and everyone at Honda realise just how difficult this can and will be.“
So a long term project, does this mean the gossip of a McLaren and Mercedes deal is untrue? According to Eric Boullier it is:
“We have a long term contract with Honda and I’m hopeful that McLaren Honda will still be a team next year. We both share the common goal of wanting to be the best. I know our patience is being tested on the hardest way possible, but that doesn’t mean we are losing faith.“
Perhaps Eric isn’t losing faith but the McLaren supporters are. Why else would the gossip of a return to the Mercedes power generate that much fuss? And with Massa, as fastest Mercedes powered driver in a non Mercedes car, up in 7th position, nearly 1 second faster than Alonso, who could blame them?