Disappointed Vandoorne felt Q2 was possible in China

Credit: Steven Tee/McLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne was disappointed not to get more out of the car during qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix as the Belgian found himself eliminated at the first hurdle and will start sixteenth on the grid.

The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team racer revealed that he felt comfortable during practice on Saturday morning but could not put a lap together when it mattered, and ended up just over half a second down on team-mate Fernando Alonso.

“After practice this morning I felt quite comfortable in the car, but unfortunately it took a bit longer than expected to get out onto the track for Q1, so we had a bit of a delay and had to rush through our programme,” said Vandoorne. “I’m a bit disappointed as I felt the chance was definitely there to get into Q2.

“Having more mileage yesterday would have probably been useful today also – it always helps when you know the track a bit better – but I think our pace this morning was pretty good straight away, so we’ll see what we can do tomorrow.”

Vandoorne revealed that both he and team-mate Alonso are still seeking ways to extract as much out of the car as possible, and every lap they complete is extremely valuable, both for himself and the team.

“We’re both pushing quite hard and it’s normal to try different things on track to be able to extract the maximum out of the car,” said Vandoorne. “Today wasn’t an ideal session but every kilometre here for me is valuable, so I’m learning a lot with every lap I do.”

Vandoorne feels that he could benefit from a race of mixed conditions on Sunday, especially if the forecasted rain does arrive, but it could be another long race for the team if it is completely dry.

“We experienced very variable conditions today – I did one run in the wet yesterday and today was completely dry – but in general I’ve felt pretty comfortable right from the beginning of the weekend,” said Vandoorne.

“Yesterday wasn’t much of a show, and the conditions are expected to be wet again tomorrow, but we’ll see. A bit of a mix-up of weather conditions will always be good for us at the moment, so let’s see what happens in the race.

“If it rains again tomorrow, it’ll mix everything up for everyone, so there could be some good opportunities for us, and we intend to make the most of them.”