First Lap Puncture Compromises ‘Unlucky’ Vandoorne in Montreal


Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren F1 Team
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd

Stoffel Vandoorne felt luck was not on his side during the Canadian Grand Prix, with the Belgian feeling his afternoon was compromised on the opening lap when running over debris from the Lance Stroll/Brendon Hartley crash left him with a puncture.

The McLaren F1 Team driver was forced to make a first lap pit stop as a result, but it meant they lost the set of Ultrasoft tyres they were hoping to use for a long opening stint, and for the rest of the afternoon he was playing catch up.

The Belgian being only one of only two drivers to gamble on a second pit stop for the Hypersoft compound before finishing down in sixteenth, ahead only of the struggling Sergey Sirotkin.

“I think we were extremely unlucky from the start today,” said Vandoorne.  “We had a good launch off the grid, but with the accident that happened there was so much debris to find our way through into Turn Five, and it was impossible to avoid it.

“We had a front-right puncture, and we basically ran out of tyres already before we even really started the race, so it was a difficult day. A big piece of debris went under the car so we were forced to pit on the first lap and then lost a lot of time in the pit-stop as well. Before we even got into the race it was already over.”

Despite the frustration in Canada, Vandoorne feels McLaren have been making progress in recent races but he knows there is plenty of work to be done in order to be truly competitive.

The Belgian knew before Qualifying that the weekend in Montreal was going to be difficult for the team, and looking forward it is unclear just how strong the MCL33 will be in the forthcoming races.

“On a personal note, on my side it’s been very positive in terms of the progression we’ve made over the past couple of races,” said the Belgian.  “The disappointing thing here was our qualifying performance for the team as a whole. We knew that before coming here and unfortunately it got confirmed. We’ve got a lot of work ahead. 

“It’s hard to tell how the next few races will be for us. We don’t want to make any predictions, and if you look at last year there were some races that we thought would be difficult but turned out to be alright. We have to wait and see.

“Paul Ricard will be a new track for everyone, and then Austria and Silverstone, so a busy couple of weeks ahead but I’m looking forward to that and hopefully we’ll have some better luck.”