Stoffel Vandoorne admits the weekend in Azerbaijan has been a tough one for him, with the Belgian unable to get out of the first phase of Qualifying on Saturday afternoon.
The McLaren F1 Team racer was edged out of the second phase in the closing moments by Lance Stroll, but Vandoorne has endured a weekend to forget so far, finishing towards the bottom of the timesheets in all three practice sessions, with the Belgian feeling his first true uninterrupted fast lap of the weekend came in Qualifying.
“It’s been a bit of a tough weekend for me,” said Vandoorne. “During practice, it seemed like, whenever I was on-track, I was in the wrong place, or encountered a yellow-flag at the wrong time. In fact, Q1 was probably the first session this weekend where I finally managed to complete a quick-lap.
“In the end, I was much happier with the car; we still lack a bit of top speed, so we really need to follow another car to benefit from their speed, and I missed out on that on my final lap.”
Vandoorne hopes to make gains from sixteenth on the grid on Sunday and believes the strengths of the MCL33 under braking could see him move towards the points.
“Still, our race performance looks better than qualifying,” said Vandoorne. “We’ve seen so many incidents under braking this weekend; and that’s a real strength of our car, it feels very good under braking, and that’s a key requirement for the race.
“I think we can pull together a good race performance tomorrow.”