Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Sochi Autodrom, 2018

Alonso says his mission was to get Vandoorne in Q2

2018 Russian Grand Prix

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Fernando Alonso explained McLaren’s tactics in qualifying were to use his car to help Stoffel Vandoorne reach Q2.

As Vandoorne was the only one of the team’s cars without a grid penalty due to a power unit change, McLaren decided to use Alonso’s car tactically to help him. They tried to use the slipstream in practice to increase Vandoorne’s speed on the straights.

Alonso said he “didn’t attempt any performance run” in qualifying and “just ran in a safe mode on the straights and tried to help Stoffel.”
Alonso said this was

“I had two missions,” he explained. “One to set a lap inside 107% [to ensure he would be allowed to start] and the second mission was to help Stoffel with the tow in the straights.

“I think we did both and obviously a lot of the focus has been on the race pace this weekend. Hopefully tomorrow we see some nice results on the chequered flag.”

Vandoorne failed to reach Q2 and ended up 19th quickest, four-tenths of a second off Alonso.

“It was always going to be hard for us this weekend,” said Vandoorne. “I think this morning we saw that the pace of the car was not very good at all.

“Going into the qualifying session the target was to try and be ahead of the Williamses. We managed to beat one today [but] I don’t know exactly what happens with all the penalties.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
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  • 15 comments on “Alonso says his mission was to get Vandoorne in Q2”

    1. Mission failed.
      No Freddo this time.

    2. If this is indeed true, then Vandoorne should be nowhere near F1 at this point. Barely being within half a second of your teammate, who isn’t even really trying? Seriously poor.

    3. And yet they still managed to fail at that, LOL.

      1. @jerejj – seriously!

        I read all the BS quotes from Alonso and skimmed down for the meat which I found:

        Vandoorne failed to reach Q2 and ended up 19th quickest, four-tenths of a second off Alonso.

    4. lol and still he finished quicker than vandoorne

    5. I find it baffling how you can score points on your debut, dominate lower formulae and be hailed as the next big thing and then fall so dramatically. Has his confidence gone? Have McLaren had no idea how to help him? Is his car fundamentally broken? I kinda feel sorry for the guy.

      1. @rocketpanda agreed, it’s very odd, something doesn’t add up and I don’t mark it him suddenly forgetting how to drive. It isn’t in Mclarens interest to figure out what’s wrong when putting Norris in the car was the goal, much easier to do when he’s replacing someone who isn’t performing.

      2. Confidence is totally gone now, no question. The last few races he’s been awful.

        I think the problem was been mainly one of driving a car designed for his team-mate, who just happens to be (arguably – I think he is) the most relentlessly high-performing driver on the grid. Never got his foot in the door against Alonso, was always a No. 2 and he was always second in the list to get new/better parts. And his standing in the team progressively fell, along with his confidence… says a lot that he was closer to Alonso last season than he has been this year.

        Hugely sad, because I think he’d have thrived in a team like Sauber or Toro Rosso, and he had enough talent to be fighting Leclerc, Verstappen, Ocon etc over the next decade…

      3. This is exactly what his stronger critics forget: the guy can’t have forgotten how to drive. Given the examples of Magnussen and Perez, I think McLren is a dreadful place for a young driver.
        I’m relieved Mercedes showed some interest in him. They may bring him back in F1 in the future.

    6. Oh dear. Now it will be impossible for Vandoorne to out qualify Alonso at all over the last year (365 days). Last time was Malaysia 2017. Even thought he’s occasionally been close, not ever managing it is extremely poor. Ericsson may be slow, but he occasionally has a quick run and the odd special race (admittedly rare) every now and then. I just haven’t seen special moments from Vandoorne.

    7. Considering the outcome, if true, it is not very gentlemanly for Alonso to make this public… it unnecessarily makes Stoffel look even worse than he does already

      1. it is not very gentlemanly for Alonso

        Alonso’s like this only on days that end with a ‘Y’.

          1. + a million

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