You had to feel for Stoffel Vandoorne on Sunday. After struggling for a number of races, the Belgian driver finally looked set for a strong point-scoring finish in Budapest - until reliability issues agonisingly intervened.
McLaren gave Vandoorne a different chassis in Hungary in order to try and solve his recent woes, with the 26-year-old having been comfortably off the pace of team mate Fernando Alonso and complaining of a handling issue since Silverstone. The move appeared to pay off, with Vandoorne more competitive in Budapest and running close behind Alonso in ninth with 20 laps remaining when he was forced to retire with a suspected gearbox problem.
“I think as a team we did everything right and it hurts, definitely, not to finish with points here,” Vandoorne said.
“It shows it’s a mechanical sport I think. Really disappointing today. I think we did everything right. We had a superb start, gained a few places on the opening lap. We had really good tyre management, really good pace when it mattered. We managed to go long, do the overcut and make the tyres last.
“The team had good pit stops, we had both cars in eighth and ninth very comfortably actually, so we only had to bring the car home and we would have had some points. But unfortunately we had a technical issue, I think something gearbox-related, so it’s not a nice feeling to end the race like this.