Stoffel Vandoorne: “We have a lot of margin to improve”

Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Stoffel Vandoorne felt positive following the two Free Practice sessions at the Circuit of The Americas on Friday, even though he ended up fifteenth fastest in the afternoon session.

The McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team racer was an encouraging fifth fastest in the mixed conditions of the morning session as he tried out new aero parts, which he felt was particularly pleasing as it was his first experience of the Texas circuit.

Vandoorne feels McLaren’s long run pace on Friday was encouraging, but there is still work to be done to address their Qualifying pace, although the Belgian knows he will have a five-place grid penalty for a gearbox change.

“Today was a reasonable Friday overall,” said Vandoorne. “This morning we faced tricky conditions to start with, but in the end it dried up and we had a really busy first practice session trying out some new aero parts. I feel that I put in a good performance, especially considering it was my first time driving on this circuit.

“FP2 was a bit more difficult for me. We struggled during the session with some traffic and I wasn’t 100 per cent happy with the car balance, but the long-run pace looked reasonable – I was a bit happier with our long-run pace than qualifying set-up.

“All in all, tomorrow we have a lot of margin to improve, but we know what we have to do and hopefully we should be lot closer.”