McLaren is in last place, admits Vandoorne

© XPB 

Stoffel Vandoorne celebrated his birthday on Sunday by getting to the finish of the Australian Grand Prix. That was better than many of McLaren's detractors had expected the MCL32 to be able to manage.

But it was pretty much the only bright spot in an otherwise difficult weekend for the team, and for the Belgian driver.

"I had a very tricky race," Vandoorne conceded. "At my pit-stop, I had to perform a full power-cycle of the car to reset it, which cost me time and position. I also lost the dashboard readout for a while.

"Throughout the race, I was very busy on the steering wheel, making a lot of changes to the car’s settings while trying to bring the car home.

"Nevertheless, after the tests in Barcelona, we didn’t really expect to finish the race, so this is a little bit of a milestone today.

"We went to the end, but never able to fight for anything," he continued. "We lack so much power that it is impossible to fight. We're really driving in another category.

"Our package is really not competitive," he told Belgian newspaper La Derniere Heure after the race. "When you're three seconds down, it's not enjoyable because you're not really racing.

"We are more or less last.

"We're getting new parts for China and Bahrain. We'll try to improve, but we know that it will take time. The next races will be just as difficult," he predicted.

Vandoorne couldn't even take any solace from being faster than his team mate Fernando Alonso on the day.

"I do not value my laptimes compared to Fernando in the situation we are in," he said. "Especially when he fought in the field and I was more or less alone."

Overall, the 25 year old was happy to put the race - and his birthday - behind him. “I think I probably deserve a slice of birthday cake this evening!" he said.

GALLERY: all the pics from Sunday's action

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