McLaren preview the Bahrain GP

Fernando Alonso is looking forward to returning to Bahrain having missed last year's race while Stoffel Vandoorne it is the scene of his only F1 point.

Fernando Alonso: “I’m looking forward to going back to Bahrain, especially as I missed last year’s race – I have good memories from my three victories there, and racing in twilight is always a fun experience. The Bahrain Grand Prix is always a pretty long race, so our first priority is to ensure we have reliability against the heat and harsh conditions of the desert before we can start thinking about performance. 

“On the performance side, before retiring the car in Shanghai I was running in a very promising position, and our pace was much stronger than anticipated, so I’ll be pleased if we can have some more good surprises in Bahrain!

“It will be another challenging race for us; the long straights don’t make it easy and there’s a lot for the engineers to work on. Brake wear and fuel consumption is high, and set-up is tricky as the track temperatures change a lot during the weekend, as we race later into the evening compared to the usual schedule. 

“I’m pushing hard to get the absolute maximum out of our package every time I leave the garage, and in Bahrain I’ll approach the weekend in exactly the same way.”

Stoffel Vandoorne: “I have lots of good memories from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in 2016. We’re a year on now, I’m a full-time McLaren-Honda driver, and I’ve already gained a lot more experience in the past 12 months, so of course my aim is to work hard and improve every time I arrive at a grand prix. This year will be difficult for us, but we’ll be racing hard as always.

“The most important thing for me is mileage, and the weather will surely be better in Bahrain than it was in Shanghai, so I’m hoping to do as many laps as possible over the weekend. It helps that I know this track well and I won there twice in 2015 in GP2, so I’m already comfortable with the layout and therefore it’s a case of building on what I already know.

“We were always expecting a difficult weekend in China, and I don’t know if it will get a lot better in Bahrain – it’s only one week later and there’s obviously a limit to how many changes we can apply in that time, but we’ll do our best as usual. The car is definitely improving and both Fernando and I feel confident and competitive, especially in the corners, so we’ll have to wait and see what’s possible at this track.”

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