Stoffel Vandoorne felt the upgrades brought to the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya are working for the McLaren F1 Team, even if the Belgian missed out on making it through to the top ten shootout for a fifth consecutive race weekend.
Vandoorne was just over two-tenths of a second off the pace of team-mate Fernando Alonso during the second segment of Qualifying for the Spanish Grand Prix but whereas the Spaniard made it through to Q3, the Belgian will start from eleventh, although he will have a free choice of tyre for the start.
“We’ve had the best qualifying session so far this season here, and it was a very close one, again,” said Vandoorne. “The tyre selection was not an easy one to decide.
“The feeling was positive in the car, and we ended up very close to Q3 – Fernando just made it – which shows the parts we’ve brought here are working well. It’s a step in the right direction and we need to keep improving like this in the next races.”
Vandoorne insists it is important to avoid mistakes on Sunday but has high hopes he can bring the car home for a fourth points finish of the season, particularly if the team stay sharp and take any opportunity that presents itself.
“I think points are possible tomorrow,” says the Belgian. “So far, we’ve done pretty well on a Sunday, as we have a good understanding of the strategy and how to use the tyres. We’ve had good race pace and we need to fight to get ourselves in a good position in order to benefit from other people’s mistakes.
“Conditions out there have been tricky all weekend with a lot of cars going off, so tomorrow we need to be sharp. We must make sure we don’t make any mistakes, and then I think we can be in a position to benefit and get some points.”