Echoing the thoughts of his team-mate Fernando Alonso, Stoffel Vandoorne has said that the McLaren F1 Team must “maximise every session” in order to help achieve their target of top four finish in this season’s Constructors’ Championship.
In 2017, Vandoorne saw his maiden Chinese Grand Prix end after just 17 laps with fuel pressure problems, but the Belgian said that he enjoyed the challenge of the Shanghai International Circuit.
“Last year was my first experience of the Chinese Grand Prix,” said Vandoorne.
“Although the race was short-lived for both of us, I did enjoy racing there.”
The Belgian also pointed out that McLaren may be helped by Shanghai’s typically variable weather, with last year’s race taking place in changeable conditions. Vandoorne believes that the weather could hold the key to a strong McLaren weekend, hoping that McLaren can keep up their “good momentum”, strategically speaking.
“As we saw last year, the weather in Shanghai can be unpredictable,” he added.
“If we can continue our good momentum in terms of putting together a good strategy and taking every opportunity where we can, rain could be a fun addition to our race weekend.”
However, the 26-year-old remained hesitant to make any clear predictions, saying that the Chinese track is a “tough circuit” for the McLaren car.
“We know it’s a tough circuit for our package and we need to maximise every session, every day, to give ourselves the best chance of a good result.”
McLaren have failed to make it into the final part of Qualifying on both occasions in 2018 and – like Alonso – Vandoorne says that the team must improve on that front.
“We can’t be on the back foot on Sunday and it’s important we do as much learning as we can on Friday to enable us to fight for representative positions on the grid on Saturday afternoon.”