Stoffel Vandoorne: “We should definitely have been in Q2”

Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren F1 Team - Marina Bay Street Circuit
Credit: Andy Hone/McLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne felt he should have made it into Q2 for the Singapore Grand Prix on Saturday, but the Belgian rued a ‘messy’ final lap that saw him down in eighteenth on the grid.

The McLaren F1 Team racer admitted he tried to maximise the performance of his MCL33 during the opening segment of Qualifying, but he made too many mistakes, which means he has still yet to out-qualify team-mate Fernando Alonso in 2018, the only driver on the grid to not beat his team-mate at least once this season on a Saturday.

“My last run on the new tyres was extremely messy from my side – I touched the wall about four times I think,” said Vandoorne.  “We should definitely have been in Q2 as that was when the track was at its best. It’s a shame because the pace was there to progress. I think the car is okay so that’s good. 

“I tried to squeeze everything out of the car. When you do a bit too much and you overheat the tyres, the lap-time doesn’t come towards you. It’s all about qualifying here.”

Vandoorne has one eye on the points on Sunday but knows it will all likely come down to strategy, as overtaking around the Marina Bay Street Circuit is notoriously difficult.

“I think our race pace is usually a bit better than qualifying – we’ve known that since the start of the year – but around here it’s very difficult to overtake, so it’ll have to be about a good strategy,” said the Belgian.  “The key will be to see what the runners on Hypersofts can do, how long they can make them last. At least we have free tyre choice so hopefully we can gamble a little bit. 

“Anything can happen here in Singapore. There’s 100 per cent chance of a Safety Car so there’ll probably be one at some point!”