Stoffel Vandoorne will start tomorrow’s British Grand Prix from eighth on the grid – the best starting position he’s had in Formula 1.
Vandoorne took advantage of a wet-dry track to make it into Q3 and out-qualify team-mate Fernando Alonso, a result that came as a shock to the Belgian.
“To take part in Q3 at Silverstone was a bit unexpected,” said Vandoorne.
“But I’ve been working very well for the past couple of races, and we’ve clearly seen the improvements inside the team – in Azerbaijan, in Austria, and here at Silverstone this weekend, Fernando and I largely matched each other’s pace. It’s obviously a pretty good feeling to have made that extra step.”
It’s often said that rain is a great equaliser, and where skills take precedent over outright power. It’s unsurprising then the tricky conditions are something the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver has been waiting for, and when they came, he made the most of the opportunity.
“We’d been hoping to get a rainy mixed-condition qualifying for a long time, and I think we were pretty strong in these conditions all session long. Then, when the track got drier, we maximised every chance we got.
“As usual, it’s very close in the midfield pack, and we usually see that some of the others have got a little something extra for qualifying. But I think the mixed conditions really helped us today. Every time I was on track, I managed to bank a good lap-time, and I think ninth in Q3 was really the maximum we could do today.”
Stoffel Vandoorne put in the ninth fastest time in Q3, however gains a place thanks to a five-place penalty against Valtteri Bottas for a gearbox change.