Stoffel Vandoorne: “I’ve definitely had one of my best Fridays so far”

Stoffel Vandoorne was thirteenth in both free practice sessions on Friday - Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Whereas team-mate Fernando Alonso was enduring more Honda engine troubles, Stoffel Vandoorne on the other side of the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team garage was enjoying the best Friday of the season so far.

The Belgian completed sixty laps across the two practice sessions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya, finishing thirteenth fastest in both, and for the first time he was able to run a complete day without any issues affecting his running.

Of course Vandoorne knows reliability is a big concern to the McLaren team at present, especially after Alonso’s woes, but he heads into the rest of the weekend with confidence.

“I’ve definitely had one of my best Fridays so far,” said Vandoorne.  “It’s the first time that I’ve had a Friday this season without any big problems – we ran through our programme without any big issues, so that was good.

“Everything ran smoothly on my side, however, we saw that on Fernando’s side it was a bit more complex. Unfortunately, he missed FP1 and didn’t do so many laps in FP2, so it still shows that reliability is one of the key issues we have to work on for the next few races.”

Vandoorne is unsure to how the upgrades brought to the track this weekend to the MCL32 are working at present, but is hoping for progress to be made with them overnight ahead of final practice and qualifying on Saturday.

“We’ve brought quite a few upgrades to this race, but at the moment it’s different to judge any of them individually,” said Vandoorne.  “At the moment, everything is working pretty much as expected, and tonight there’s a lot to analyse to see exactly how the day ran.

“Hopefully tomorrow we can fine-tune everything a bit, and extract a little bit more.”