Date published: October 29 2018
Stoffel Vandoorne only stopped once in Mexico on Sunday, as he made his way through the field to a P8 finish.
The Belgian secured his best finish of the season, and ended the longest active points streak in F1, scoring for the first time since Baku in April.
It all came down to a one-stop strategy, which helped his get past the cars in front who made multiple stops.
“I’m super happy with that result today – a great race,” Vandoorne said.
“We knew it was possible to score points here with a lot of preparation that we’ve put into this race, in terms of what strategy to choose – one or two stops – and ultimately we made the tyres last for one stop.”
The race did not start well for the McLaren man though, as he found himself at the back of the field after the first lap.
“After Lap 1 we were last, so it was a great recovery – some good overtakes on track, which were very crucial, and at the end making the tyres last,” he added.
“It wasn’t easy in the beginning but I was always kind of there at the right time, attacking when I had to and managing the tyres at the same time.”
Vandoorne managed to make a set of supersoft tyres last 57 laps in the Mexican heat on Sunday, which impressed his race engineer Tom Stallard.
“On the inside of the front left tyre it looks smooth because the grip rubber is completely worn away. So impressive to drive tyres like this with no mistakes,” Stallard tweeted after the race.
His driver, who is out of Formula 1 at the end of the year, and moving to Formula E with the HWA Racelab team, said that the decision to go for a one-stop was tricky.
“The crucial point was when we had to decide to go for one or two stops – the tyres were looking very, very tricky and we managed to recover a little bit and that was the crucial moment..
“Finishing eighth is first of all a great result for myself, but also for the team to score some points for the Constructors’ [Championship]..
Despite having not scored points in the last 13 races before Mexico, Vandoorne believes that he had been putting in some good performances.
“I think there have been some really good races a couple of races ago as well, but everybody notices because we are rewarded with points,” the Belgian continued.
“It’s a great result for myself, but it’s also a great result for the team. It’s important for us for the constructor’s championship. Now I’m going to enjoy the last couple of races.”