Formula 1

‘Hard To Explain’ McLaren’s Qualifying Struggles – Vandoorne

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Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Stoffel Vandoorne can’t explain why he struggled in qualifying for the 2018 Austrian Grand Prix where he’ll start the race from fifteenth.

Vandoorne once again failed to escape Q1 at the Red Bull Ring and finished the session in sixteenth. The Belgian will gain one place courtesy of a grid penalty for Charles Leclerc.

But Vandoorne can’t put his finger on why he wasn’t able to post quicker lap times with his MCL33, musing that perhaps the struggles stem from the Pirelli tyres.

“It was a very tight session, and didn’t go perfectly for me,” said Vandoorne.

“I didn’t have any particular issues this afternoon. We changed a lot on the car yesterday, but we left it alone today – but it still felt a little different from one set of tyres to another, which was hard to explain. Maybe it’s the tyre preparation, or other cars doing warm-up laps before starting their push-laps.”

A feature of the Austrian Grand Prix weekend so far has been the circuit’s aggressive kerbs, which have seen many cars shed carbon fibre when hitting them. Most notable was Vandoorne’s shattered front wing during free practice and the Belgian has questioned the use of “those yellow sausage-kerbs.”

“Everyone who’s touched those yellow sausage-kerbs has broken bits of their car. Even in qualifying this afternoon, a bit broke off my car – and I didn’t even touch any of the kerbs. They’re quite harsh: I don’t see the reason for putting them there: if you’re going that far onto the run-off, you’re losing time anyway.

“Qualifying was more or less what we expected – we’ll see tomorrow what the race brings.”

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Formula 1 Writer for TheCheckeredFlag. Tried racing once, crashed lots; writing about it is much safer. Follow me on Twitter @CVennF1
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