Stoffel Vandoorne expressed optimism over his progress at the Singapore Grand Prix, though left empty-handed for the tenth round in succession.
Vandoorne dropped out in Q1 after a “messy” final lap in which he clipped the wall four times, consigning him to starting 18th, ahead of only the Williams drivers.
Vandoorne made gains in the race to classify 12th but it meant the outgoing McLaren driver again failed to score a point, having been unable to add to his tally since Azerbaijan.
“I think it was a decent race considering not a lot of action happened during the race and there were no Safety Cars after the start,” said Vandoorne.
“There was just that one incident on the first lap, but we couldn’t really benefit from that.
“We were quick and actually had good pace when it mattered in that first stint, especially when the pit window opened.
“We decided to go long on the first stint, and that’s how we recovered a few places.
“The tyres didn’t feel so great by the time we pitted, but we more or less had the pace to maintain that same rhythm. The others were getting blue flags so they were losing a lot of time, and that’s what mattered.
“It’s always been known that we’re better on a Sunday than a Saturday, but on street circuits like Singapore it’s all about qualifying. It’s a shame not to score any points.”
McLaren team-mate Fernando Alonso raced to seventh place, increasing his points total to 50, compared to the eight amassed by Vandoorne.
Vandoorne will be replaced by Lando Norris in 2019.