2018 Austrian GP: McLaren Absolutely Nowhere in Spielberg

Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Austria 2018 Practice
Photo: © McLaren

McLaren have shown no signs of improvement in Friday practice, as the team prepares for another difficult Grand Prix.

While the Red Bull Ring isn’t a track, that should suit the McL33’s characteristics, McLaren is drawing towards the back of the field in Austria, rather than being at least a mid-field team.

The short lap with only 10 corners is bringing the whole pack closer together, as the 20 cars nearly all fit into a 2s gap to each other.

But Fernando Alonso placed 17th in the first practice session, 1.7s behind leader Lewis Hamilton, with team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne in 18th just 0.045s behind the Spaniard.

2018 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix Practice One Results
 DriverTeam
EngineLapsTimeGap
1.united_kingdom Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes391’04.839 
2.finland Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes391’04.9660.127
3.netherlands Max VerstappenRed BullTAG421’05.0720.233
4.germany Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari291’05.1800.341
5.australia Daniel RicciardoRed BullTAG221’05.4830.644
6.finland Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari311’05.7760.937
7.france Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari311’06.0281.189
8.france Esteban Ocon
Force IndiaMercedes401’06.0551.216
17.spain Fernando AlonsoMcLarenRenault301’06.6121.773
18.belgium Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenRenault301’06.6981.859

Free Practice Two brought a major improvement for Stoffel Vandoorne who moved up into 10th place, but McLaren’s woes continued.

Alonso finished only 19th, 1.850s behind the leading Mercedes – being ahead of only Lance Stroll.

Credit to Vandoorne for stepping up in FP2 to get the McLaren into the top 10, but it’s ought to be another weekend where the Woking based team could face elimination in Q1.

Fernando Alonso, Post Friday Practice:

“This was a pretty intense day as we had a lot of items to test on the car, especially aero parts. We completed the programme, now we just need to analyse the data and make sure we put the best parts on the car tomorrow to find a little more performance.”

“Having an additional DRS zone is a good step: it will be difficult to get close to the car in front, especially in the middle sector, so three DRS zones will help to keep the group together. Hopefully, it should provide more overtaking in the race.”

“We expected rain today, but none came; it’s now on the forecast for tomorrow, so we need to be ready to maximise every opportunity that comes our way if the weather proves to be unpredictable.”

2018 Formula 1 Austrian Grand Prix Practice Two Results
 DriverTeam
EngineLapsTimeGap
1.united_kingdom Lewis HamiltonMercedesMercedes371’04.579 
2.finland Valtteri BottasMercedesMercedes421’04.7550.176
3.germany Sebastian VettelFerrariFerrari531’04.8150.236
4.australia Daniel RicciardoRed BullTAG481’05.0310.452
5.netherlands Max VerstappenRed BullTAG481’05.1250.546
6.finland Kimi RaikkonenFerrariFerrari421’05.2650.686
7.france Romain GrosjeanHaasFerrari381’05.4290.850
8.denmark Kevin Magnussen HaasFerrari411’05.5590.980
10.belgium Stoffel VandoorneMcLarenRenault471’05.9301.351
19.spain Fernando AlonsoMcLarenRenault331’06.4291.850