Vandoorne Focused on Improving his Qualifying Performance in Sochi

by Paul Hensby
Stoffel Vandoorne - McLaren F1 Team - Hockenheimring

Stoffel Vandoorne says his performance during the Singapore Grand Prix gives him confidence heading into this weekend’s Russian Grand Prix, although the Belgian continues to strive for his first point since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix in April.

The McLaren F1 Team driver acknowledges that his Qualifying performances have not been good enough in recent races, meaning he has not been able to capitalise on the better race pace of the MCL33 and bring home a top ten finish, something he knows he needs to address.

“After the last race, I hope we can continue to make progress in Russia and keep moving forward,” said Vandoorne.  “Although I had a disappointing qualifying in Singapore, we once again showed that our race pace is stronger, so it’s important that on my side I can get the best result possible on Saturday to give us the best chance on Sunday. 

“I felt very comfortable in the car, we had pace and I felt like we could keep pushing.”

Vandoorne, who will leave McLaren at the end of 2018 in favour of reserve driver Lando Norris, knows this weekend’s race at the Sochi Autodrom will not see the same kind of performance levels for the MCL33 as it showed in Singapore, but he hopes to start the weekend smoothly, so he can maximise the result on Sunday afternoon.

“Strategy and tyre wear will once again be very important during this race, and especially getting a good read on the durability of the Hypersoft tyres from Friday onwards,” said the Belgian.

“This track won’t be exactly the same for us in terms of performance as Singapore, as the layout is very different and it’s a challenging configuration.  But I’m focusing on each weekend individually, race-by-race.

“Hopefully we can have a smooth Friday and start the weekend strong so we can make the most of every session.”

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