Stoffel Vandoorne was delighted to finish in seventh place for the second race in succession, at the Malaysian Grand Prix.
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“I can say this was definitely my best ever race in Formula 1 up until now,” a delighted Vandoorne said after the race.
“All weekend I’ve been really, really strong. Very confident with the car in qualifying to finish seventh.
“We weren’t really sure were we would be able to finish in the race, and to pull off seventh today was an amazing result.
Vandoorne ran in the top six until his pit stop on lap 13. That dropped him down to seventh place, and put him right in the middle of a battle between Williams drivers Felipe Massa and Lance Stroll.
“After a great start we knew it was going to be difficult to maybe hold the Force Indias and the Williams behind,” he said. “But only [Sergio] Perez came through.
“From then on we just had amazing pace,” he added. “Pushed very very hard every lap to try and keep the gap with Stroll. And that’s what we managed to the end.”
By contrast, his team mate Fernando Alonso found himself boxed up in traffic before the first corner. He eventually finished just outside the points in 11th place.
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“Stoffel was the beneficiary of a good start,” noted McLaren racing director Eric Boullier. “[He] had the opportunity to run cleanly throughout.”
“Before the start, it was by no means looking like an easy race [for us]” he continued. “Particularly as we knew that we would probably be at the mercy of some of the faster cars behind us.
“So I think we can be proud of all we achieved this weekend, around a circuit that was not best suited to our package.”
“Another positive result for the team,” added Honda’s Yusuke Hasegawa. “Stoffel maintained his momentum from Singapore and brought home more precious points.
“The result was even more impressive when you consider that this is a tough, power-hungry circuit. I think today we were able to prove the progress of both our car and power unit.
“Stoffel made a good start and was able to keep position until the end of the race. He showed very consistent pace and maintained the gap to his rivals chasing from behind. I think he did a brilliant job all weekend.”
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