Stoffel Vandoorne: First-lap crash scuppered points chance
McLaren-Honda’s Stoffel Vandoorne says he had “nowhere to go” on the opening lap as he was forced out of the Brazilian Grand Prix after contact with Kevin Magnussen and Daniel Ricciardo.
Vandoorne started from 12th on the grid but was squeezed between Magnussen and Ricciardo through Turn 2, and the trio came together, causing terminal damage to Vandoorne’s MCL32.
Stewards investigated the incident post-race but deemed that no driver was worthy of penalty, but Vandoorne was left to rue his early exit, in a race in which team-mate Fernando Alonso took eighth.
“Definitely not the race I wanted to have,” said Vandoorne.
“I actually had a really good launch off the grid, then had a good fight with [Esteban] Ocon and [Romain] Grosjean and nearly got past them – we almost had an accident there when everyone bunched up.
“Then, in Turn Two, I got sandwiched by Magnussen and Ricciardo. There was nowhere to go. An unfortunate end to my race. From my perspective, there was nowhere I could have gone to avoid the incident.
“I definitely think it was a missed opportunity to score points.
“Our race pace looked really promising on Friday, and I felt that, with the track conditions being so hot and after making a strong start, we had a good chance to finish in the points. A shame.”
Magnussen offered his perspective of the clash, commenting: "From my side, we were three-wide through the corner.
“There was contact with Vandoorne who then had contact with Ricciardo. I broke my front suspension, so it wasn’t the best.
“If I’d realised earlier that Ricciardo was on the outside of Vandoorne, then perhaps I’d have given more room, but by the time I saw Ricciardo it was too late. I’d already carried the speed.”