Vandoorne finding time with every lap after more ‘testing’ in Australia

Vandoorne, Free Practice 2. Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Stoffel Vandoorne and McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team used the first and second practice sessions in Melbourne as an extension to pre-season testing, enjoying a more reliable day than those spent at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The Belgian was able to test the car aerodynamically during the first session, before focussing on longer runs and tyre evaluations later in the day.

The feeling with the car was OK today,” he said. “Obviously, I missed a little bit of running in FP1, but I think we had a very good FP2, catching up on mileage.

“Getting laps was my main focus today – I wanted to get some times on the board, do some longer runs, and get a better understanding about the package we have.”

The Belgian driver finished the first session 20th with a time of 1:28.695, and the second session 18th with 1:26.608. That placed him almost three seconds slower than the best time of the day. However, in comparison to his vastly more experienced team-mate Fernando Alonso, the five places between the pair only equated to 0.6 seconds on the track.

It’s very difficult to predict where we’ll qualify tomorrow: I’m not really looking at the lap times at the moment; it’s more about the feeling, for me,” he continued. “I’m still finding time in the car on every lap, feeling more comfortable, and I’m happy that the set-up changes are going in the right direction.

“I made a big improvement from FP1 to FP2, so hopefully tomorrow will be another step forward.”