Stoffel Vandoorne upbeat, plays down exhaust clip setback at F1 test

Stoffel Vandoorne expressed optimism over McLaren’s potential after his first proper day in the MCL33 in chilly conditions at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

Vandoorne, having briefly sampled McLaren’s new challenger during a filming day at Navarra last week, took over duties from Fernando Alonso for the second day of the opening test.

Vandoorne used Hypersofts to finish third overall, six-tenths behind Soft-clad leader Sebastian Vettel, though finished with only 37 laps to his name, after a technical setback.

However, Vandoorne played down the issue, and was upbeat over his first proper feel of the MCL33.

“The first impression is very positive, I felt very comfortable, no surprises, some good learning done,” he said.

“Unfortunately we had this small issue with the exhaust clip just after lunch which obviously detached the exhaust and blew a lot of hot air on some of the wiring looms.

“One of those wiring looms was the brake wire as well so the team took a precautionary check which obviously meant things took a bit longer than expected.

“All in all it’s been a positive day with a lot of thing learned and it was not a big problem.”

On his experience of Renault power, following McLaren’s switch from Honda, Vandoorne said: “So far very positive, there is no big things to say really.

“Everything feels nice, the driveability feels very good, every setting we change is working as expected; so far there’s nothing much to tell.”