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United States GP: Qualifying team notes - McLaren

NEWS STORY
21/10/2018

Fernando and Stoffel qualified in 16th and 20th positions respectively after a dry but cool qualifying session where the team opted to save its preferable tyre selection for the race tomorrow.

The drivers' two stints in Q1 were on the Ultrasoft tyres, and both reported that they weren't able to glean the performance from them that they'd hoped. Despite this, the weather forecast for tomorrow's race is set to be dry and warmer than today, which should better suit the performance of our package. Both Fernando and Stoffel will each start two places higher on the grid, due to penalties for other drivers.

Fernando Alonso: "It was a good qualifying for us in terms of lap-time and the lap itself. Both laps were clean, with no traffic, no issues, the car felt good and was responding well, so we more or less maximised the package. That's the maximum we could achieve today, as unfortunately we didn't have the pace in dry conditions. We missed making it into Q2 by a couple of milliseconds as it was quite tight in the midfield, with one or two tenths to P11.

"Hopefully tomorrow we'll see a tight race and we'll fight for the points at the end. Normally on Sunday our pace improves a little bit and if we manage to do a good start and a good strategy and there's maybe some action in front of us, that'll help to recover some places for free.

"Having had a wet practice, we don't know exactly about the tyre degradation and some other things, so we go into the race with some unknowns. However, maybe this will give us the possibility to do something differently and gain some places."

Stoffel Vandoorne: "It wasn't a great qualifying for us, and we didn't have enough at the end of Q1. Today was the first dry day we've had this weekend. We were hoping for a little bit of rain, which looked like it was coming but it never seems to rain at the right time for us!

"Tyre-wise, we've been struggling a bit with the Ultrasofts. We haven't been too comfortable with how they've been behaving and can't seem to make them work - we were quicker on the Supersofts. We only had one dry session and in FP3 we didn't really feel that comfortable in the car on them, and that feeling carried forward into qualifying. The good thing is tomorrow we probably don't have to race with that tyre.

"We'll try our best tomorrow - we've always been a bit better in the race. We were reasonable last year in race conditions and made a few overtakes, so we'll see how that's going to play out and if we can recover a few places. I'm looking forward to it and hopefully we can have a bit of fun."

Gil de Ferran, Sporting Director: "So close and yet so far. Although we didn't make it out of Q1, we were just a few tenths away from being in the top 10.

"Tomorrow, conditions should be quite a bit hotter, which will pose very different challenges in terms of tyre wear and degradation.

"We're fully focussed on doing everything we can to improve our positions in tomorrow's race. Given our historical relative improvement in pace on a Sunday, I'm hopeful that we can recover from this difficult day."

Check out our Saturday gallery from COTA, here.

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