Vandoorne: Sort reliability then compare drivers

Date published: August 25 2018

Stoffel Vandoorne: Sort reliability then compare drivers

Stoffel Vandoorne feels McLaren first need to get a handle on their reliability issues before putting him up against Lando Norris out on track.

Norris replaced Fernando Alonso in Friday’s first practice session for the Belgian Grand Prix as the Woking team evaluated him against Vandoorne with an eye to Norris replacing him next season.

Norris beat Vandoorne by just under a tenth of a second.

It was, however, a session in which Vandoorne managed just 13 laps to Norris’ 26 as his MCL33 was hit by several reliability issues.

“Obviously they want to see how we compare but I think first of all the team should give a car that is able to run on track before we can really compare,” Vandoorne told journalists after Friday’s running.

“Problems in FP1 with the brakes at the start and then an engine related issue later. We didn’t really manage to get any proper laps in.

“In FP2 as well we started off with some more problems. We more or less had one normal run. It didn’t really feel like I’ve been working today.”

He added: “I’ve always been very positive and the past few races have been very difficult, but now the problems are starting to fall on my side a lot.

“It’s a bit difficult to understand why it’s always happening to me.

“The team is trying to do the best possible job but right now [the issues] are starting to fall to my side a lot.

“I try to be optimistic but every time I get in the car there’s a problem again.

“I just want to have a normal day without problems and then things will go a lot better.

“I really feel the support of the people here. It hurts not to be able to give them a good result.”

Vandoorne was again slowest of all in second practice, his best time three-tenths shy of Fernando Alonso’s.

Asked if he would give voice to his frustrations to McLaren, he replied: “What does that change to the situation?

“I think I’ve showed often enough within the team what I want, but there’s nothing I can change about the problems we’re facing right now.”