Despite retiring from the Spanish Grand Prix, Stoffel Vandoorne still felt there were positives to take away from the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, with the upgrades that were brought to the circuit seemingly making a positive difference.
The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team racer has a three-place grid penalty hanging over him for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix after being found responsible for the clash with Felipe Massa in Spain that forced Vandoorne from the race with a broken suspension, but the Belgian was happy that progress has been made on the MCL32 with the upgrades.
“Although the Spanish Grand Prix result was frustrating and of course not a result that we were looking for, we were still able to find some positives over the weekend,” said Vandoorne.
“The upgrades we brought to the car have delivered the performance we were hoping, and we managed to take a lot of information from each day on track, which has been really useful for the engineers and the design team back at the factory and is helping our programme from race to race.”
It will be Vandoorne’s first Grand Prix at Monaco, but he has previous experience there in the GP2 Series and World Series by Renault, and he took a Feature race victory in GP2 in his championship winning campaign in 2015.
The Belgian knows luck plays a big part in proceedings at Monaco, with even the best drivers in the best cars liable to suffering if traffic does not go their way.
“Since Barcelona, I’ve been back at MTC in the simulator, and I feel ready and excited to head to Monaco,” said Vandoorne. “It’s the first time that I’ll be racing in my ‘back yard’, as it’s recently become another home race for me.
“It’ll also be my first time behind the wheel there in a Formula 1 car, but it’s not the first time I’ve driven on the famous Monaco circuit. I raced there in GP2 for three years, and also in World Series by Renault, so I know it pretty well and enjoy driving there.
“It’s one of those tracks where even if you have the best-performing car, but you’re a victim of bad luck in the traffic, it can affect the outcome of the whole weekend. It makes for really exciting racing for the fans, and anything can happen there.”
Vandoorne will have a different team-mate in Monaco, with Jenson Button stepping into the seat of Fernando Alonso while the Spaniard makes his attack on the Indianapolis 500, and he is happy to be partnering the Briton again, having done so in his debut race in Bahrain back in 2016.
“It’s also great to see Jenson back in McLaren-Honda colours and alongside me in the garage,” said Vandoorne. “Both of us love driving on this circuit and I hope it’ll be the best opportunity for us on track so far this season.
“I know both of us will also be keeping one eye on everything happening in Indianapolis, too, and hope Fernando can also enjoy a good weekend over there.”