Stoffel Vandoorne praises “productive” final test day

by James Eagles

Stoffel Vandoorne has said that the second and final day of tyre testing at the Yas Marina Circuit was “productive” for the McLaren Honda Formula 1 Team, in their last on-track excursion under Honda power.

Vandoorne completed 105 laps, setting the eighth fastest time of the day with a 1:39.782 on the hyper-soft compound, just over two seconds adrift of pace-setter Sebastian Vettel.

After reliability problems plagued Oliver Turvey’s run yesterday in the McLaren, Vandoorne was satisfied with the day’s work. However, it wasn’t all positive for the Belgian, who hit the wall at Turn 19, similar to team-mate Fernando Alonso yesterday, disrupting his running.

“Today was generally a very good day,” said Vandoorne, before adding. “Although it was a bit strange that I crashed in the same corner that Fernando did yesterday!”

“Overall though, today has been very productive for me and the team, and it’s been really beneficial to be able to have a first feeling of the 2018 Pirelli compounds.”

Vandoorne believes that the miles covered over the two days has been beneficial in regards to understanding the new 2018 tyre compounds, and gathering data to take into the winter break.

“We’ve done a lot of testing, completed some good mileage, and understood a lot about how the tyres behave.”

“The past couple of days have now given us the tools to be able to analyse the data over the winter and have a good benchmark for next year.”

As his first full Formula 1 season drew to a close, Vandoorne was keen to praise his team in a year that has posed several “challenges” in terms of performance.

“Now that we’ve reached the final day on track of the 2017 season, I’d like to say a big thanks to all my mechanics, engineers and the rest of the team – not only for working so hard on my car today – but for
pushing hard throughout the whole year, despite the challenges.”

In September it was announced that McLaren will partner up with Renault next year for the start of a three-year deal, and Vandoorne is full of optimism for the season ahead.

“Every person in the team has put in a huge amount of effort and I hope they enjoy a well-deserved break with their family and friends.”

“I’ll be back in the factory soon to work on preparation for next year, and I’m already looking forward to the start of the next chapter.”

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