Vandoorne 'not backing down' despite troubled qualifying in Marrakesh

Mercedes-EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne's chances of securing Julius Baer Pole Position faded in the qualifying group stages after the Belgian driver suffered software issues, relegating the championship leader down to 20th ahead of the race in Marrakesh later today.

"It's a tricky day for us," admitted Stoffel Vandoorne, clearly disappointed by his qualifying performance. "We had some problems with the brakes, which we didn't have in practice at all." 

RESULTS: The full qualifying classification

Starting the weekend on fine form in both Practice sessions in Marrakesh, the Belgian driver went into qualifying with high hopes until suspected software issues scuppered his chances of another Julius Baer Pole Position this season. "We just didn't really get to manage a lap and we're obviously starting in a pretty bad position for the race now," he added. 


"We had the quickest first sector out of everybody in that in that second lap and then in that final lap, for some reason it was just locking brakes in virtually every corner," said Mercedes-EQ Team Principal Ian James during the session, looking to understand the cause of the unexpected issues. 

"I think the pressure is on everywhere and we need to make sure that we're capitalising on every opportunity that we get," he added. 

Despite the disappointment, the championship leader remains determined - already looking to how the team can improve the situation they find themselves in. With 121 points, Vandoorne leads the way into Marrakesh but only by five points. Close behind him is DS TECHEETAH's Jean-Eric Vergne in second with 116 points and ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edoardo Mortara in third with 114 points. 

"First we need to sort the car. That's the main priority because it's impossible to drive as it is right now," insisted Vandoorne.  

"It's a long race and there's a lot of opportunities here. There's high temperatures, so it's going to be a lot of managing but I'm not backing down. I'm going to try and recover as much as I can." 

With time ticking until the race starts later this afternoon, time will tell if Mercedes can remedy the issues ahead of the main event. Catch all the action LIVE

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