McLaren deliver on best race of F1 2019 so far at French GP
McLaren secure sixth and ninth positions after leading midfield at Paul Ricard; Sky F1's Hill and Di Resta praise team's improvement
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 24/06/19 5:09pm
Sky F1's Damon Hill believes a "reality check" at McLaren has aided the team's improved form after their best race of the season so far at the French GP.
Leading the midfield ahead of engine suppliers Renault, McLaren registered just their second double points finish in the last 14 months with Carlos Sainz sixth and Lando Norris ninth, although the Englishman had been seventh until late hydraulics problems slowed his pace.
McLaren's qualifying and race results at Paul Ricard were in stark contrast to last year, when they were eliminated in Q1 and finished outside the points, and continues the steady trend of improvement which has taken them to fourth place in the Constructors' Championship.
And Hill believes a mindset change following several new arrivals at the former world champions over recent seasons is now paying dividends.
"Sometimes when you've had a lot of success, there's a culture of not recognising when things have gone wrong," said Hill of the nine-time constructors' champions.
"They needed someone like Zak [Brown] and other new people to come in and say 'listen, you need a reality check. That was then, this is now' and that seems to be what has happened in McLaren.
"They have come together, faced the real challenges as they are, and it's showing results. It's fantastic."
Fellow Sky F1 pundit Paul Di Resta added: "The big thing I've taken from McLaren is Zak's built almost this family. He's thanking the engineers, he's thanking the drivers, but he's more thanking the team for the work they are putting in back at base. That is what is paying off and the spirit will be lifted by that."
McLaren pleased by performance
Although McLaren's post-race emotions were tempered by Norris' misfortune, the team leave the south of France heartened by the consistency of the MCL34 across the Paul Ricard weekend.
"We could also show in the race today that the pace was there," said team boss Andreas Seidl, who started at Woking in May.
"Very happy for the team back here and the track that we could carry the performance over the whole weekend.
"We have since the beginning of the season that some cars are faster than other cars depending on tracks, so we'll see how it goes in the next weeks.
"But the important thing is to keep developing the car, we see the results on track. We keep understanding the car better and better and the two drivers are doing a great job, so really pleased."
Sky Sports F1 is the home of live and exclusive F1. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live