McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne bests Jenson Button in Bahrain F1 qualifying

Stoffel Vandoorne made a memorable qualifying debut for McLaren, finishing 12th on the grid for Sunday’s Bahrain Grand Prix – two places ahead of his vastly experienced team-mate Jenson Button.

Button did complain of a handling imbalance on his final lap, but said: “Stoffel did a good job and I didn’t.”

Vandoorne made an 11-hour flight to Bahrain from Japan, where he was preparing for the Super Formula season, after being told on Thursday that Fernando Alonso had been passed unfit by FIA doctors because of a rib injury following his heavy crash in Melbourne on 20 March.

The Belgian said Alonso had stayed to help. “He’s been next to me and the engineers and he’s been very helpful, giving some comments about which direction to go with the car set-up, what to try during the practice sessions.”

In the first and second practice sessions on Friday the Belgian finished four and eight places respectively behind Button, who also just bettered him in FP3, when the rookie missed most of the session with a water leak. Button was again quicker in Q1 but then Vandoorne came out on top in Q2.

Powered by article was written by Paul Weaver at Sakhir, for The Observer on Saturday 2nd April 2016 20.30 Europe/London © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010