Honda takes 'positivity' from Mexico speed
3 November 2017 – Honda chief Yusuke Hasegawa says the manufacturer has taken "positivity" from its performance at the Mexican Grand Prix, after McLaren scored a point.
Honda was braced for another tough weekend at the high-speed Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez, amid altitude and cooling challenges.
Sizeable engine-related grid penalties for Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne added to the task, the pair lining up 18th and 19th respectively.
However, both drivers charged towards the points-paying positions in the race, after rapid starts, Vandoorne holding 10th, and Alonso 11th, in the early stages.
Alonso then overhauled Vandoorne, and ran as high as eighth, managing to pull off a series of overtakes, and benefitting from trouble for rivals.
Vandoorne's race was hindered by a Virtual Safety Car, and dropped to 12th, but Alonso remained in the points, coming home 10th after a late scrap with Lewis Hamilton.
Given the progress Alonso and Vandoorne were able to make, and the respectable speed trap readings, Hasegawa expressed satisfaction over Honda's showing.
"Despite having both cars starting from the back of the grid, it was a great result for the team that we were able to grab a point in the end," said Hasegawa.
"Both Fernando and Stoffel made brilliant starts, and fought around 10th place throughout the race.
"Fernando, who had a good feeling in the car all weekend, drove a superb, dogged race to eventually snatch the final point.
"His drive was full of passion and showed what an incredibly skilled driver he is, and I think he deserves to be praised.
"Stoffel had an incredible start and pushed hard all race long, therefore it is disappointing that he was unable to reach the points.
"Regarding our power unit, despite having a tough challenge at high altitude here in Mexico, both cars finished the race and we had decent speed.
"I think we can come away from the weekend with some positivity.
"The team also did a good job with strategy and everyone worked incredibly hard.
"Obviously we have only two more races to go as McLaren-Honda, and we will continue to work together and finish in the best position we can."
Honda will power Toro Rosso from the 2018 season, with McLaren switching to Renault.