Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren, Suzuka, 2017

Missing Q3 is “pretty much ideal” – Vandoorne

2017 Japanese Grand Prix

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Stoffel Vandoorne says he is not disappointed at missing the cut to get into the pole position shoot-out at Suzuka.

The McLaren driver was beaten to the final place in Q3 by Fernando Alonso. The difference between the pair was less than three-hundredths of a second.

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Suzuka, 2017
Japanese GP qualifying and practice in pictures
But Vandoorne said he is pleased because failing to reach Q3 means he will not have to start the race on a set of used tyres.

“We were very close,” said Vandoorne. “I think in the end to not go to Q3 is pretty much an ideal scenario for me because it means I can start on a new set of tyres tomorrow.”

“We know Fernando has the grid penalty anyway, so we’ll probably start from tenth with a fresh set of tyres. Which is good, we’re in a position where hopefully we can race from and hopefully take some points.”

Vandoorne has finished seventh in the last two races and with Alonso set to start from the back of the grid the rookie driver is McLaren’s best chance to score more points at the home race for engine supplier Honda.

“It looks like it’s not really straightforward between one and two [pit] stops so hopefully that can actually play in our advantage,” he added. “We’ve got a couple of good cars in front of us. Maybe if there’s any mayhem happened we just need to make sure we’re in a position where we can benefit from that.”

2017 Japanese Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 5 comments on “Missing Q3 is “pretty much ideal” – Vandoorne”

    1. As Räikkönen who qualified 6th but has to have his gearbox replaced will get a 5 place grid penalty too, Stoffel will even move up to the 9th slot.

      1. Indeed! It’s looking good!

    2. Ideal my ass. Lewis Hamilton is in ideal starting position.

      At best they get 1 or 2 places with better strategy, provided their race speed is equal to those around.

      1. C’mon! It is ideal for him and a McLaren! They would never get the ideal 1st position, so knowing there are drives taking penalties (in this case his own team-mate for sure) he will still start in roughly the same position he would had went into Q3 but with the advantage of starting with new tyres! The ideal in this case is specific to the driver in question, not the ideal position overall…

        1. Correct, BaKano. Jureo seems to have forgotten that the drivers who get to Q3 have to start the race on their Q2 tyres. And with the grid penalties, he gets a top 10 start with fresh tyres.

          Stoffel has really impressed me of late. Looked kinda lost earlier in the season, maybe the pressure of having Alonso as a teammate, or simply that the car was even worse than he thought (last year McLaren finished mid-table, and I guess the assumption was that they’d make more progress this year). But whatever the reason, he’s pulled it together nicely and maybe he can get his third consecutive finish in the points.

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