“FERNANDO GOT THE ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM OUT OF HIS CAR THIS AFTERNOON”
On a warm and sunny morning in Montreal, both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed a trouble-free FP3, allowing them to execute their run plans as scheduled and conduct the necessary final evaluations and set-up tweaks before qualifying. Stoffel completed 22 laps and set the 16th-fastest time, while Fernando did 18 laps, finishing the session in 12th before conducting pit-stop simulations.
By qualifying, track temperatures had risen by a further six degrees Celsius. Both drivers started Q1 smoothly, but Stoffel fell foul of yellow flags on his final lap at the end of the session after Pascal Wehrlein went off the track. The incident meant Stoffel had to abort his final timed lap, and consequently missed out on progressing through to Q2 by just over a tenth of a second. He has qualified 16th for tomorrow’s race.
Fernando opted to do his final run earlier than Stoffel in Q1, and was already comfortably through to Q2 when he too was forced to abort his last lap. He finished the session in 10th place. In Q2, he completed two runs of two laps each, and was lucky not to encounter any traffic on either run. He will start tomorrow’s race from 12th on the grid.
FP3 12th 1m13.885s (+1.313s) 18 laps
Q1 10th 1m13.669s (on Options)
Q2 12th overall 1m13.693s (on Options)
“I think what we achieved in today’s qualifying was the maximum we could have hoped for. I’m happy with our performance – it was probably a bit quicker than we expected, actually, considering our power deficit. We’re in P12, not ideal position to start from, but I think our time compared to the pole time here is quite competitive for us. Obviously, we’d like to be further forward, but I believe we maximised the potential today with a good, clean lap.
“The car has felt great so far. It’s been fun out there today, and the level of grip is very high. Even though the tyres are difficult to warm up, they’re very consistent and you can push throughout the run, so I think it’s going to be an interesting race.
“The key to tomorrow’s race will be performance and reliability, as always. We’ll have to do some fuel saving and keep an eye on engine cooling, so it won’t be easy. But the first priority tomorrow will be to finish the race, and, if we can be in the points, that’ll be great.”
FP3 16th 1m14.228s (+1.656s) 22 laps
Q1 16th overall 1m14.182s (on Options)
“It’s a shame that I had to abort my final Q1 lap when the yellow flags came out. I think we had the potential to get into Q2 – we were struggling a little bit with switching on the tyres on the first timed lap and we’d been improving our time on the second lap. I think the potential was there to progress on the second timed lap, and it would have been good enough to get us through to Q2 if it hadn’t been for the yellows, unfortunately. That’s how it is sometimes: we were unlucky.
“In general we’ve found it difficult to get the tyres in the performance window and we know how difficult it is if you can’t get the temperatures up. In terms of actual performance, we’re not that far away; it’s just a case of needing that little bit more time to get the tyres working, and then we’re up there.
“We’ll give it our best shot tomorrow. We know this track isn’t the most favourable for us, with all the long straights, and we’re compromising the set-up a little bit in order to boost our straight-line speed. Tomorrow, we’ll see: it’ll be a long race, hopefully it’ll be a decent one, and we can bring both cars to the finish, after which we’ll see where we end up.”
McLAREN-HONDA RACING DIRECTOR
“Fernando put in a typically brilliant performance here at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve today, wringing every last hundredth of a second of available speed out of his car, and qualified an encouraging 12th as a result.
“OK, I grant you, 12th isn’t much for him or indeed us to write home about, but believe me when I tell you that he got the absolute maximum out of his car this afternoon.
“He had the benefit of not having been hampered by traffic on his quick laps, but Stoffel wasn’t so lucky. Both he and Fernando had found that two laps were required to put sufficient heat into the tyres to turn in an optimal lap, and as luck would have it Stoffel was confronted by waved yellow flags as he embarked on his second fast lap in Q1, triggered by Pascal’s [Wehrlein] accident. Bearing that in mind, his 16th place was a very creditable effort.
“Fernando will be racing hard for points tomorrow – and, with good reliability, a bit of attrition in front of him, and a modicum of luck, Stoffel may well be able to do the same.”
HONDA R&D CO. LTD HEAD OF F1 PROJECT & EXECUTIVE CHIEF ENGINEER
“Despite the troubles we faced yesterday, we thought we were quick enough this weekend to go through to Q3, so it was disappointing that we only just missed out.
“In this morning’s session, our team worked incredibly hard to make up for the lost track time yesterday, and we were able to go through the programme as planned in order to set up the cars for qualifying.
“Fernando once again extracted the maximum speed out of the car, but just missed out on Q3 after a close battle with the midfield pack. Stoffel was very unlucky when yellow flags ruined his final run in Q1.
“Although we’re expecting a long and hard race here tomorrow, I still think we have sufficient speed to be able to take home some points. Anything can happen in Canada, and hopefully with a bit of luck on our side we can have a successful afternoon.”