Formula 1

McLaren ‘aren’t very quick at all’ says frustrated Vandoorne

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Stoffel Vandoorne - Formula 1 - 2018 Belgian GP
Credit: Octane Photographic Ltd.

Stoffel Vandoorne lashed out at the McLaren F1 Team‘s dismal 2018 performance by saying that they lack pace in all departments of the MCL33.

Vandoorne finished last at his home race, the Belgian Grand Prix, after setting the slowest time in Free Practice 1, 2, 3 and qualifying.

Despite trying a alternative strategy in the wake of a frightening first corner crash that involved team-mate Fernando Alonso, the 26-year-old failed to make any positions and crossed the line a comfortable lap down on victor Sebastian Vettel.

The McLaren driver labelled the race “boring”, not just for him, and expressed his relief in seeing Nico Hülkenberg, Alonso and Charles Leclerc walk away unscathed.

“It was a pretty boring race to be honest,” mused Vandoorne, born around 120 miles from the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

“I was on my own all the way. It was a very unfortunate crash on lap one, luckily everyone was unhurt so that’s the most important thing.”

“We tried to do something different with the tyre strategy and pit behind the Safety Car, and unfortunately that didn’t really pay off.

“I think the race in general was quite boring for everyone, there wasn’t much overtaking and for us there were no miracles today.”

Vandoorne bemoaned McLaren’s lack of performance, saying that there was nothing he could do to make the different strategy work in his favour. He gave a scathing review of the situation, believing that McLaren “aren’t very quick at all” and that trying something contrary to the rest of the field was the only chance both he and the team had to progress up the order.

The 2015 GP2 Series winner pitted at the climax of lap one for the medium compound tyres before completing the last 15 laps of the 44 lap race on super-softs, the quickest compound brought to the weekend by Pirelli Motorsport.

“Whatever we did there was nothing much we could get out of it,” he added.

“Whether pitting the second time was the right thing to do is hard to tell, but it didn’t make much difference. We more or less confirmed our pace anyway and we aren’t very quick at all.

“The only chance we had for a good result was to try something completely different and it didn’t work, but I don’t think we lost anything by doing it.”

It is thought that Vandoorne is set to stay at McLaren for a third full season alongside new signing Carlos Sainz Jr, despite rumoured interest from Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team and ex-ART Grand Prix colleague Frédéric Vasseur. The Belgian has failed to score a point since Azerbaijan, leaving him sixteenth in the Drivers’ Championship on eight points – 36 behind Alonso.

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DTM, Formula 1 writer and deputy editor for The Checkered Flag. Autosport Academy member and freelance voice over artist.
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