Stoffel Vandoorne says an “undriveable” McLaren MCL33 was behind his deficit to Formula 1 teammate Fernando Alonso in British Grand Prix qualifying.
Vandoorne is yet to outqualify Alonso in 10 attempts this year, and in Q1 at Silverstone the gap between the pair was the biggest it’s been all year.
The Belgian was nine tenths slower than his teammate in the first segment, and had to do with 17th on the grid.
Alonso, who wound up 13th, reckoned his qualifying performance was “without a doubt” his best in 2018.
“Today was really difficult,” Vandoorne said. “The car was undriveable today and we don’t really understand why at the moment.
“I think we were actually in much better shape than we looked [on Friday] but since this morning something has been feeling fundamentally wrong with the car and we’ve not been able to really find what the problem was before qualifying.
“In qualifying as well the feeling was pretty terrible. Very bad. Nothing more we could do, so very frustrating.
“I felt very uncomfortable, no pace at all. Impossible to really drive and to do anything. It’s a shame to come out of qualifying like this.
Vandoorne acknowledged that “clearly the other car seems to have some pace”, but when asked about the sheer size of his deficit to Alonso, he said: “I don’t care how much the gap is because it’s explainable with the issues we’re having with the car.
“I’m definitely not looking at that.”
Vandoorne was far off Alonso on ultimate pace in Friday practice as well – but explained after that day’s running that he had gone “in a different direction with different set-ups” compared to his teammate.
“After yesterday there was an explanation why the cars were quite different,” he said after qualifying. “This morning we put everything the same.
“Something felt fundamentally wrong with the car. The car was undriveable.”
The Belgian said the target for his side of the garage for Sunday was “to understand the problem with the car”.
“There’s not much more we can do,” he added.