Stoffel Vandoorne: “Our deficit on the straights is still too big”


Credit: Steven Tee/McLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne was left downbeat after finishing the Mexican Grand Prix from twelfth on the grid, with the straight line deficit of his McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team MCL32 preventing him from an even better result.

The Belgian had started nineteenth on the grid following a thirty-five-place grid penalty for another Honda engine change ahead of the race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, but despite gaining six places on the opening lap, it was always going to be tricky to fight for points.

Vandoorne felt the pace deficit in a straight-line, coupled with the timing of the virtual safety car, prevented him from securing a better result, but despite these problems, the outright pace of the MCL32 was encouraging, as was its reliability, particularly as four Renault-powered cars retired.

“We had an amazing start today – we were thirteenth after the first lap – but we’ve seen today how much we are missing in a straight line,” said Vandoorne. “We couldn’t even keep a Sauber behind and we couldn’t really overtake after that, so we lost ground.

“But our pace in clean air was very positive, the car felt very good, and starting from the back we knew it was always going to be tough for us.

“The end of the race got very exciting with a few cars coming close together, but it still shows that our straight-line speed is not good enough. It was a difficult race for us – there were definitely points on the cards today, but we were just too compromised because of our speed and losing time in the pit stop with the late VSC call.

“The positives we can take away are that our pace was really strong and we made it to the end, but our deficit on the straights is still too big.”