MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 26: Stoffel Vandoorne of Belgium driving the (2) McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team McLaren MCL32 on track during the Australian Formula One Grand Prix at Albert Park on March 26, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Stoffel Vandoorne, who was celebrating his birthday at Albert Park on Sunday, earned McLaren-Honda its first race finish of the season in the Australian Grand Prix, coming home in 13th position.

After a difficult winter, the team found plenty of positives to take away from the opening race weekend of the year, and the whole team will be pushing to make further improvements ahead of next month’s Chinese Grand Prix.

As for Stoffel, finishing the race was a nice bonus, especially as there were 7 retirements, including his own teammate, and he was heading back to his hotel to celebrate with a nice birthday cake….

“I had a very tricky race, he said. “At my pit-stop, I had to perform a full power-cycle of the car to reset it, which cost me time and position, and I also lost the dashboard readout for a while. Throughout the race, I was very busy on the steering wheel, making a lot of changes to the car’s settings while trying to bring the car home.”

“Nevertheless, after the tests in Barcelona, we didn’t really expect to finish the race, so this is a little bit of a milestone. We definitely don’t have enough pace to compete with the cars ahead of us, so we need an extra big push for China, in a fortnight’s time. We’ve had decent mileage all weekend; Fernando showed well in qualifying; and we finished the race, so there are positives to take away from this first weekend of the season. I think I probably deserve a slice of birthday cake this evening!”