As McLaren’s drivers bide their time, awaiting the day the Honda delivers the a power unit worthy of its name, the team’s MCL32 chassis can run with the best.
Both Fernando Alonso and Stoffel Vandoorne have praised the car’s speed in the corners while lamenting its slowness down the straights.
“The car feels pretty good,” confirmed the young Belgian in China.
“When I was behind the Williams of Massa, I even commented that I was faster in every corner,” he told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws.
Unfortunately, as soon as the McLaren is pointed in a straight line, it loses ground quickly.
“Our top speed on the straights is too low for racing. It’s impossible for us,” Vandoorne added.
“At the start of the straight you look in the mirror and by the end a car is next to you. We urgently require more power. Even with DRS open we can’t pass anybody.”
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Based on their relative performance in Australia and in China, Vandoorne clearly appears to lag his illustrious team mate. But the Belgian isn’t worried.
“The engineers said our potential laptimes were similar, but the difference was the groups we were in.
“Up front, the pace is higher but further back, where I was, you lose time because there are more slow cars.”
Is McLaren’s drivers hope for progress, the 22-year-old rookie is still expecting another difficult time next weekend in Bahrain.
“The feeling with the car is pretty good, the updates seem to work, the chassis is moving in the right direction — we just lack speed on the straights.”
“We know it’s not easy with our car now but we try the best we can and there will be improvements soon,” he said.
“But it will probably not be for Bahrain — I think it’s going to be a bit of a difficult weekend for us again.”
GALLERY: All the pictures from Sunday in Shanghai
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