Stoffel Vandoorne took responsibility for being eliminated in the first qualifying session after what he described as an “extremely messy” lap.
The outgoing McLaren driver was knocked out of Q1 and will start in a lowly 18th position after he admitted he made contact with the barriers around the Singapore streets multiple times on his final flying lap.
“My last run on the new tyres was extremely messy from my side,” admits Vandoorne. “I touched the wall about five times, I think. We should’ve been in Q2 definitely, so not a good day.
“I was trying to squeeze everything out of it. When you do a bit too much and overheat the tyres, then the lap time doesn’t come towards you. So today was not good.”
Vandoorne says that McLaren will be looking to take advantage of the typically high incident rate of the Singapore Grand Prix when it comes to their strategy for tomorrow’s race.
“Our race pace is usually a bit better than qualifying – we’ve known that since the start of the year – but around here, it’s very difficult to overtake,” says Vandoorne.
“The key will be to see what the runners on Hyper Softs can do, how long they can make them last and at least we’ve got free tyre choice so hopefully we can gamble a little bit. Everything can happen here in Singapore. I think there’s a 100-per-cent Safety Car chance here. So there’ll probably be one at some point.”
Despite the setback, Vandoorne says he is focused on enjoying his final races at McLaren before he departs the team at the end of the 2018 season.
“I’m trying to enjoy first of all the final part of the season and really trying to make the most of my time with McLaren. It’s a shame it didn’t turn out well. I think I’ve been with the team probably in the worst moment of their history, but sometimes it’s like that and we’ve got to make the most of it.”