Stoffel Vandoorne enjoyed a troublefree first day as a McLaren race driver in Bahrain, finishing FP2 in a solid 11th place.
Vandoorne only arrived in Bahrain this morning after an overnight flight from japan, but he’d used at least part of the flight to do some homework.
“Eric [Boullier] called me a bit earlier this week that Fernando still had to pass the FIA tests,” said Vandoorne. “We booked a flight a day earlier just in case. In the end I got the call that I had to drive the race anyway.
“I got the call yesterday evening when I was about to leave Japan. From then on things started to get a little bit hectic. I had a lot of calls with all the McLaren engineers, they sent me all the files I had to know with all the information about the steering wheel, operationally before and during the race, about what we can and cannot say, what we have to do. I’ve spent my time well on the plane. I think today went very well after a night’s sleep. Thinking about tomorrow, I feel very confident about it.”
Vandoorne was happy with progress: “It’s definitely been great. I wasn’t expect to drive this weekend, but in the end I’m very happy for this opportunity. First of all I’m gonna try and do as good a job as possible for the team. I feel 100 percent ready for this. I think today was a very good day for me. I haven’t driven this car before but I quickly felt comfortable in the car.
“I progressed quite a lot through FP1 and quite a good feeling for FP2 as well. Most important for us was to do a lot of laps, we’ve done a lot of pitstops, practice starts, the operational stuff really. All those things I have to learn.
“I know a lot of the guys around here, so it makes my life a little bit easier to go and work with them. It’s definitely never an ideal situation to just jump in the car without any testing but so far this Friday it’s been very good during both practice sessions, feeling more and more comfortable. I think tomorrow that progression is going to go forward.”