It was the end of a record run of 64 consecutive points-scoring races for McLaren
after a fruitless outing in Montreal this weekend in the 2013 Canadian Grand Prix, and the consequent gloom hanging over the team was evident in the crew's body language as they started to pack up and prepare for the trip home to Silverstone for the British Grand Prix
in two weeks time.
"To have that run in the points come to an end is a bit of disappointing," agreed McLaren
team principal Martin Whitmarsh. "It was a tough afternoon."
Asked what had gone awry, Whitmarsh admitted that pretty much everything that could go wrong, had.
"We got it wrong," he said. "Unfortunately, with the benefit of hindsight, we were a touch too conservative with our tyre management this afternoon. The prime turned out to be a stronger tyre than we'd anticipated, and we could have exploited it for longer and further in the race than we did.
"We should have started on the prime. We really stayed out on the option too long, stayed in traffic and lost a lot of time. In the case of Jenson, we set him lap time targets which were too slow - and he could have gone much faster. He could have pushed into the points," he suggested.
"Credit goes out to Jenson and Checo. both drivers performed brilliantly, attacking when necessary, and driving with the foresight and caution needed to look after their tyres across long stints. They deserved to score points."
But that was little consolation to Sergio Perez and Jenson Button, however. Perez finished just on the wrong side of the points in 11th and Button was one further place back in 12th at the line; both cars were a lap off the race leaders.
“This wasn't the race we were hoping to have," said Perez in a studied piece of understatement. “We tried our best to try and score a few points, but it was impossible to do any better than we did out there today.
"It's a pity, because the car felt quite good during our installation laps," he added. "But the car didn't work that well on the option tyre, and we struggled to find enough grip."
"Irrespective of strategy, we wouldn't have gone any faster," agreed Button. "With hindsight, I think we'd have been better off starting on the prime tyre, rather than the option. During my first stint, all the two-stoppers pitted ahead of me, then came back to overtake me, so it was a bit tricky.
“Our car tends to work better on fast and flowing circuits, such as Malaysia or China," he added. "So I'm looking forward to my home race at Silverstone at the end of the month."
McLaren will certainly have to significantly improve if they're going to be able to excite their home fans and not end up delivering another embarrassing and pointless outing like the one they just laboured through in Canada.