The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team exceeded all expectations, including their own, by getting Stoffel Vandoorne’s car into Qualifying 3 on the power hungry Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit.
Qualifying took place in wet conditions after heavy rainfall, meaning that the order was mixed from what had been expected. Vandoorne put the car into Q3 with a last lap attempt, beating team-mate Fernando Alonso for the second time this year.
The power deficit that the Honda power unit has was expected to be a hindrance on the high-speed Monza circuit, but the McLaren has looked surprisingly quick all weekend.
“For us to be in Q3 on a circuit like Monza means it’s been a pretty good afternoon, especially as it wasn’t so easy out there and there were pretty difficult conditions,” commented Vandoorne.
The Belgian finished tenth fastest and will start in eighth due to Red Bull Racing penalties, although he believes that had he not lost power on his flying lap, he could have finished higher.
“I’m happy with my performance today. Unfortunately, we didn’t get to have a proper go in Q3 – we had a loss of engine power so I had to abandon my quicker lap, and we don’t know what the problem is at the moment.
It’s a shame because I really think we could have pushed our way further up. We could have taken more time to find the limit and taken a few more risks, but we didn’t get that chance.”
Vandoorne is surrounded by cars that all have a higher straight line speed, but he is confident that he can hold onto a point scoring position in tomorrow’s race.
“I think tomorrow should be dry, so we’ll need a good start and to keep in touch with the group in front. There’s some quick cars in front and some quick cars behind, but once we’re in position hopefully we can stay there. Tomorrow is when the points are distributed, and I’m optimistic in the race we can have a good go.”