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Belgian GP Qualifying team notes - McLaren

NEWS STORY
25/08/2018

The final free practice was a difficult session for both drivers as the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps further exposed the limitations of our package. Fernando and Stoffel finished in 19th and 20th respectively with just a tenth between them. Stoffel narrowly avoided a big accident and spun off the track a few minutes before the end of the session when he was squeezed onto the grass while trying to overtake Valtteri Bottas. It didn't affect his programme and the car suffered limited damage, which was repaired in time for the afternoon's qualifying session.

Qualifying was equally as challenging. While rain threatened for most of the afternoon, it didn't materialise until later on in the session. Fernando and Stoffel weren't affected, and despite using the tow on each other's cars neither was able to make much of a dent on the timesheets. Fernando qualified in 17th and Stoffel in 20th, but both will jump two places to start 15th and 18th respectively due to penalties for other drivers.

Fernando Alonso: "We've lost a bit of performance in recent races, but on top of that we knew Spa would be quite a difficult race for our package in terms of performance, and so will Monza. We will try to defend here and attack on more favourable tracks.

"My qualifying lap today was enjoyable. Driving these cars on this circuit is always very special because they feel fast and grippy, but then you cross the line and your time is slower than your competitors, which means that tomorrow we'll have to recover.

"We try to score points in every difficult situation so why can't we score points again tomorrow? We need something special to happen, so maybe there is some rain coming that will give us a chance."

Stoffel Vandoorne: "Our general performance explains pretty much everything this afternoon. We've been last in almost every session, we've had so many problems this weekend and I don't think there were any surprises here in qualifying.

"It's my home grand prix and it's a real shame that we don't have better machinery to really put on a good show and give the fans a good result.

"I don't think there would have been a huge miracle if I hadn't had the incident in FP3. We tried to play every card today, with a bit of slipstreaming as well and we didn't really progress any further, so I don't think it made much difference for me.

"I hope I can progress at least a little bit tomorrow. It's been a difficult weekend, we've not really had any performance at all, and I just hope tomorrow will be better."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "This circuit has indeed exposed many of our weaknesses, to an extent that we were unable to overcome them today.

"While we are very disappointed with our qualifying performance, we will approach tomorrow with our usual unwavering fighting spirit in the quest for a good result."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Spa, here.

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