Qualifying further up the grid important for McLaren in Brazil – Stoffel Vandoorne

Credit: McLaren Media Centre

McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team driver Stoffel Vandoorne cannot wait to experience racing at the iconic Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace this weekend, another track where he has never driven before, but one where he hopes to take part in some classic racing action.

“I’m looking forward to tackling another new circuit next weekend in Brazil, especially one that is considered so legendary among the fans and the other drivers.

“Interlagos is the place where championships have been won and lost, and classic grands prix have taken place with great names like Senna and Prost winning some of F1’s most famous races.”

The Belgian certainly puts in the hours before a race weekend, and the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix will be no different, with the 25-year-old spending plenty of time in the simulator to familiarise himself with the track ahead of the race.

The solid preparation means Vandoorne can then concentrate on car set-up during the free practice sessions, instead of having to learn the circuit.

“Like every circuit we race on, I put in a lot of preparation with my engineers in the simulator, so by the time we head out onto the track on Friday morning I feel completely ready to tackle it and already comfortable with the layout and set-up the circuit requires.

“This means that, like Fernando, I can spend FP1 dialing-in the car to the track and conditions and give valuable feedback to the team so they can gather as much as information as possible.” 

One of the key objectives at Interlagos is to qualify as high up the grid as possible, and the Belgian will be looking to do just that this weekend, in order to take advantage of his ability to make a great start, as he has done on a number of occasions so far this season.

“Qualifying at Interlagos is always important because you never know what can happen in the race. In Mexico, I had a great start, so if we can start further up the grid in Brazil – providing we can avoid more penalties – it’ll open up good opportunities in the race.”

Having a clean race is also vital, and if he can stay out of trouble, then Vandoorne believes he has every chance of scoring some good points on race day.

“It’s important to stay out of trouble and have a clean race and then we can see what we can do from there.

“There’s everything to play for and I’m excited to experience the famous atmosphere at Interlagos thanks to the enthusiastic Brazilian fans.”