In his latest column for Motorsport.com, McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne recalls a trying Bahrain Grand Prix weekend that, for him, was over before the race had even begun.
I think it is fair to say that the Bahrain Grand Prix was not the easiest of weekends for myself nor the McLaren-Honda team.
I had been really looking to returning to Bahrain – it is one of the circuits I know, I have great memories of my Formula 1 debut there last year and, of course, it’s where I scored my first points.
Things got off to a pretty good start immediately as well, with a normal run programme scheduled on Friday. So I thought we would be in good shape.
But unfortunately in practice one, after a couple of laps, we suffered power unit issues so we lost a lot of track time.
However, we knew that second practice was more important because it was taking place in similar conditions to what we would have for qualifying and the race. Having a new power unit fitted meant we should have been fine.
But after only a couple of laps we had another issue. It was not easy to miss the whole of that session, as it meant I could not get the knowledge I wanted on how things would be when it mattered in the fight for grid positions.
Considering the circumstances, though, qualifying was actually quite okay. We had some problems with brake cooling, so I wasn’t 100 percent confident with things, but despite how things had been up until that point, I think we actually got the maximum possible out of the situation
Sadly my Sunday did not last very long either. We discovered an issue on the out-lap to the grid, when the pitlane was open.
When I got to the grid, the mechanics quickly started to investigate the issue and discovered a water leak. So we were not able to start the race. It was a very strange situation to find myself in when I was told that I wouldn’t be taking part.
It is definitely not an easy situation that we are in right now, but as a driver there is not much I can do other that keep doing my best when I’m in the car. It is up to the team now to take some action and make sure that there will be improvements coming soon.
With such a difficult season for both myself and Fernando Alonso, it was a great news for McLaren and Honda that Fernando will have the opportunity to race in the Indianapolis 500.
I think he wants to do something different, and have a new challenge. It is nice for him that he will get to do that.
Our focus now switches to the Russian Grand Prix at Sochi, and it is circuit that I quite like. I don’t think our fortunes will get much better as I think it will be quite a difficult weekend again.
But I know that myself and everyone at the team will keep doing the best we can.