McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team‘s Stoffel Vandoorne says he didn’t expect to qualify so high up on the grid for the Malaysian Grand Prix, starting as he will on the fourth row of the grid.
The Belgian achieved his best ever qualifying result of his Formula 1 career so far, qualifying seventh and beating experienced team-mate Fernando Alonso, who qualified tenth.
Vandoorne describes his qualifying performance as a surprise for not only achieving seventh, but also getting both McLaren cars into Qualifying 3.
“We weren’t really expecting to be so high up the grid. We’d hoped to get into Q3, but fighting for seventh was a pleasant surprise.” said Vandoorne.
“In fact, my whole qualifying session went really well. I didn’t make any mistakes and pulled every sector on every lap. To qualify seventh on a circuit like this is probably about as good as it gets for us, so I’m very happy with my performance.”
After a spectacular qualifying for Vandoorne in his first ever Formula 1 weekend at Malaysia, Vandoorne believes McLaren are strong with one-lap pace but expects a challenge when it comes to the race tomorrow.
“We generally tend to be better over a single lap than across a race stint, so I think tomorrow will be tougher for us, but at least we’re in a position to race. And nobody really has any race preparation runs under their belts, so hopefully we can go into the race a little bit more prepared than the others and benefit from that.”
“Hopefully we can make a race of it tomorrow.”