x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

F1 wrap: McLaren drivers, Schumacher get frustrated

Alguersuari thrilled with his work in Valencia, and more from the European Grand Prix

McLaren misery

Two weeks can be a long time in Formula One and it certainly felt that way for McLaren-Mercedes in Valencia as they struggled for pace. Fourteen days earlier in Canada, Jenson Button dramatically won the race, but in Spain he could do no better than sixth, a minute off the pace, and two places behind his teammate Lewis Hamilton. Both drivers felt the car lacked downforce. Hamilton told the BBC: "We've not made an upgrade for several weeks now. We've had upgrades like the front wing for example but rear downforce, we've really been struggling with that." Button said: "We need to get our heads down and improve the car, the package. Aerodynamically I think we need an improvement for Silverstone [the British Grand Prix] because we're not moving forward."

Best for Alguersuari

One of the most popular rumours in the Formula One paddock of late had been that Toro Rosso were planning to drop Jaime Alguersuari for third driver Daniel Ricciardo after an indifferent start to the season. But the 21 year old gave a perfect riposte in front of his home crowd as he came through from 18th on the grid to finish eighth - matching his best result of the season. The Barcelona-born driver said: "It definitely paid off to concentrate on race set-up and get the best out of the tyres in qualifying. I feel I now have a much better understanding of how to use them in the race and that's definitely the best way round."

Force is with Sutil

Adrian Sutil enjoys driving in Valencia and he showed it again yesterday with his third consecutive points finish there as he crossed the line ninth in his Force India. Sutil was pleased with the result as he felt he had achieved the best he could from his package. "To finish ninth feels great and I'm pleased that we've managed to get the maximum from the car through the whole weekend," he said. "The car felt really nice to drive today and I'm really happy."

Schumacher's frustration

It was back to earth with a bump for Michael Schumacher yesterday as he only finished 17th in the European Grand Prix following a collision with Vitaly Petrov. The Mercedes GP driver had put in arguably his best performance since return to F1 last year when he finished fourth in Canada earlier this month. But the seven-time world champion said he was at fault for his clash with Petrov's Renault, which came after he made his first pit stop. "I was aware that he [Petrov] was coming, and tried to brake as late as possible and go around the corner with him. But when I wanted to draw back, I locked the front wheel and slipped into him, which was clearly my mistake." His teammate, Nico Rosberg, kept out of trouble and finished seventh. He said: I'm happy with my seventh place today as that is all that we could have achieved and we got everything out of the car."

Perez happy to be back

Sergio Perez finished 11th in his first race back after his crash in qualifying in Monaco last month. The Mexican had missed the last two races for Sauber, but drove well in Valencia, and a one-stop strategy saw him miss out by one point on scoring a world championship point. He said: "It was not an easy grand prix for a comeback and I'm happy I was able to race again. I gave a hundred per cent, but I'm afraid this was the maximum we could get today. However, we will analyse how we can improve for the future."