McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne says a poor getaway and his strategy prevented him from continuing his points run at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Vandoorne started from 14th place but dropped a couple of positions on the opening lap and ran a one-stop Soft / Medium strategy, pitting on lap 22 of 56.
Vandoorne’s prospects of points were scuppered by the deployment of the Safety Car shortly afterwards, while vibrations with his MCL33 ultimately nullified his chances.
The Belgian crossed the line in 13th position, failing to bring home points for the first time in 2018.
“I didn’t have a great start and lost a few places on the opening lap,” said Vandoorne.
“I managed to make three solid overtakes to make a few positions back before the pit stop.
“The question for us was whether to make one or two stops when racing the other cars around us.
“Unfortunately our one-stop strategy didn’t really pay off in the end because the others around us benefitted from pitting under the Safety Car.
“We thought there might be more opportunities at the end, but we didn’t have the pace and I felt a strong vibration in the car which made the last few laps difficult.”
Vandoorne was nonetheless lifted by McLaren’s race pace, as team-mate Fernando Alonso rose to collect more points in seventh position.
“It wasn’t the day we were hoping for, but despite this, we still showed that our race pace was stronger than our qualifying pace,” said Vandoorne.
“We’re working hard to improve this and our performance on Saturdays, and hopefully we can have a stronger weekend in Baku.”