Reliability issues have plagued the McLaren Honda team all weekend, the result of which was a disappointing race day at the United States Grand Prix that finished outside the points.
This morning the team identified an issue with Stoffel’s MGU-H, but without sufficient time to change that element before the pit lane opened, the decision was made to change entire power unit. This inflicted a further 25-place grid penalty on his starting position in addition to the original five-place drop for changing the ICE on Friday morning.
Starting from the back, Stoffel made a great start, gaining three places on the first lap, and began to make good progress through the field. He put up an impressive fight on a track that he’d never raced on before, overtaking [Marcus] Ericsson, [Kevin] Magnussen, [Romain] Grosjean and [Lance] Stroll (who later re-passed him on the final lap). Despite a valiant effort, he finished in 12th position just outside the points and with little reward for the difficulties faced here since Friday.
Although Fernando didn’t incur any penalties before the race started, he too wasn’t exempt from reliability issues. Like Stoffel, he made a strong start, protecting the gap to the cars around him and showing solid pace up to and through the first round of pit stops. Unfortunately, on lap 24 while running in eighth place (a net seventh as [Felipe] Massa hadn’t pitted), he lost power – later diagnosed as an MGU-H problem – and was forced to retire the car.