“A PLEASANT SURPRISE”
Stoffel Vandoorne will start the Malaysian Grand Prix from a career-best position of seventh. His team-mate Fernando Alonso joined the Belgian in Q3, and will line up 10th on the grid for tomorrow’s race.
FP3 14th 1m33.530s (+1.650s) 17 laps
Q1 15th 1m33.049s (on Options)
Q2 10th 1m32.010s (on Options)
Q3 10th overall* 1m31.704s (on Options)
“I’m satisfied with this result, and with how the weekend has gone in general, but it’s going to be tough to maintain our qualifying position tomorrow. We know that our race pace is not as strong as our qualifying pace, so we’ll probably struggle a little bit more if conditions remain dry.
“However, maybe some rain will affect the race – some mixed conditions would improve things for us.
“I think performance was there for us this weekend, and getting both cars in Q3 on this circuit is a very good sign. The new parts we brought here worked well yesterday but maybe didn’t work as well today, so we will have a close look to that.
“It’s a very close field: it’s going to be tough to maintain our position tomorrow, but we’ll do our best, as always.”
FP3 10th 1m33.321s (+1.441s) 16 laps
Q1 13th 1m32.838s (on Options)
Q2 9th 1m31.848s (on Options)
Q3 7th overall* 1m31.582s (on Options)
“We weren’t really expecting to be so high up the grid. We’d hoped to get into Q3, but fighting for seventh was a pleasant surprise.
“In fact, my whole qualifying session went really well. I didn’t make any mistakes and pulled every sector on every lap. To qualify seventh on a circuit like this is probably about as good as it gets for us, so I’m very happy with my performance.
“We generally tend to be better over a single lap than across a race stint, so I think tomorrow will be tougher for us, but at least we’re in a position to race. And nobody really has any race preparation runs under their belts