McLaren were Expecting More Qualifying Struggles in China – Boullier

Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren F1 Team
Credit: Glenn Dunbar/McLaren

The McLaren F1 Team was expecting a difficult Qualifying session for the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday according to racing director Eric Boullier, particularly as it has only been seven days since the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Qualifying has not been the Woking-based teams outfits strong point this season so far, and with next to no time to address their Saturday issues, Boullier was not surprised that Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne qualified only thirteenth and fourteenth at the Shanghai International Circuit.

“Given that the Bahrain and Chinese Grands Prix take place on consecutive weekends, we knew we wouldn’t be expecting a significant change in performance from one to the next,” said Boullier.

“Of course, since Bahrain, we’ve taken steps to adapt our approach to qualifying, but any direct improvement is part of a longer-term development plan that is in the pipeline for the coming races.

“Nevertheless, the team has been meticulous in our preparation for every session this weekend using our learning from Bahrain and the data we’ve been gathering here.”

Boullier believes Sunday will show the true pace of the team as they aim to make it three races in a row where they qualify outside the top ten but score points with both cars, having done so in both Australia and Bahrain previously.

“Although we’re not expecting overnight miracles, we believe our race pace will continue to be more representative of our true performance,” said Boullier.  “As we know, the all-important result from any grand prix weekend comes in the race, and that’s where our focus firmly lies.

“Tyre strategy will be key and having a free choice is a certain advantage over the cars further ahead of us. Our aim is to continue our momentum from the past two race days and bring home some more valuable points tomorrow afternoon.”