Canada GP: Qualifying team notes - McLaren


This morning both drivers focussed on set-up for race day, testing different compounds and fuel levels. Fernando and Stoffel had no major issues and completed their final practice sessions having collected useful data in preparation for tomorrow's race.

In qualifying, neither driver reported any specific issues in either qualifying session, but struggled with pace against the tight midfield. They both narrowly got through Q1 and ultimately finished in the same positions in Q2, Fernando in 14th and Stoffel in 15th. While both drivers had hoped for more, the team is confident that its race performance will be more representative of the true pace of the McLaren MCL33.

Fernando Alonso: "We knew this could be a difficult circuit for us, but yesterday we felt competitive, the car was feeling good and we were fast.

"Today the car was still feeling okay, but we lost that level of competitiveness. In FP3 we felt a little bit worse and less competitive and unfortunately, we confirmed in qualifying that we were not on the pace today.

"It's a disappointing day but the race is tomorrow, and hopefully we can recover some places with a solid start and the right strategy. This is a circuit that provides good opportunities for overtaking, and I still think points are a possible target for us."

Stoffel Vandoorne: "Today's result is a bit disappointing. From this morning, we've found ourselves in this very tight group, and it seems like we didn't make a step forward into qualifying. It's a shame, as yesterday we had good pace going into FP1 and FP2, especially considering we didn't run the Hypersoft in FP2.

"This morning we looked to be getting close to being able to get into Q3. In qualifying, there was nothing particularly wrong - the balance was good and I think we more or less got the maximum out of our car if you look at the lap-times - but we're just lacking pace. It's a shame we weren't able to progress further.

"The race is a different story. There's a lot to prepare for tomorrow - the race is always interesting here in terms of tyre degradation, especially for the guys that are going to have to start on the Option tyre - so we'll have to wait and see. Our race pace is usually better, and at least we have the freedom of tyre choice, so hopefully that will give us an opportunity tomorrow. This is also a circuit where we can overtake, so we'll see what we can do."

Eric Boullier: "Today's performance is not one we can be satisfied with. Following Friday's performance and the promise we showed in this morning's final free practice session, there was optimism that at least one of our cars would get through into Q3, so it's disappointing to have qualified where we have.

"However, before this weekend we knew this track would be tough for our package, and therefore we cannot be too surprised with our final qualifying positions. We know our race pace has often been stronger than our qualifying performances have led us to believe, and, knowing the work we've put in so far this weekend for our Sunday set-up, we can be fairly confident of a better showing on Sunday afternoon.

"We believe that the benefit of a free tyre choice does offer some advantage here for the race, and it means we'll be able to work hard to optimise our strategy for the package our two drivers have underneath them. It certainly won't be an easy race, but we've often seen drama here in Montreal, so we'll be looking to maximise every opportunity that comes our way tomorrow afternoon to fight the other midfield teams for points."

Check out our Saturday gallery from Montreal, here.

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Published: 09/06/2018
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