Recent race pace 'hugely encouraging' for Honda

© XPB 

McLaren's ability to be competitive over a race distance at circuits such as Hockenheim has been "hugely encouraging" for Honda.

Fernando Alonso finished seventh in Budapest on a circuit which places less emphasis on power unit performance. A week later, Jenson Button finished eighth in the German Grand Prix, with Hockenheim a much more power-dependant track. Despite starting outside the top ten, Button climbed up to eighth and overtook the Williams of Valtteri Bottas late on, while Alonso lost tenth place in the closing laps as he struggled with fuel consumption.

Honda's head of F1 project Yusuke Hasegawa told F1i the pace shown in the race - allied to the final result - shows the progress McLaren-Honda has been making this season.

"It was very encouraging, especially seeing our race pace was much better than expected after our qualifying pace," Hasegawa said. "It was a tough race for both Jenson and Fernando, to compete at a power circuit like Hockenheim.

"They did a good job in battling the Williams and Force Indias throughout the race, and though they were forced to do a lot of fuel saving, Jenson managed his pace well until the end, and caught up with a tyre-struggling Williams in the end.

"The team strategy worked well, and Jenson drove patiently and smoothly to keep to the strategy. Obviously, we need to work further on improving the power and fuel but the race pace was decent and the result was hugely encouraging for the team."

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