Despite qualifying eighth for the third consecutive time in Jakarta, Mercedes-EQ driver Stoffel Vandoorne remains confident that he and team can race well when the time comes later this afternoon Indonesia's capital, Jakarta.
"It has not been straightforward," admits the Mercedes-EQ driver immediately after stepping out of the car following his knock-out in the quarter-finals of the Duels. "I had a really good lap into the Groups but then I didn't seem to be able to put it together into Duels afterwards. I haven't been able to do that recently, actually, so there's a little bit of work to do from from our side there."
Despite the Belgian's battle with qualifying ahead of the last three races - including Jakarta - where's he's placed no higher than eighth, Vandoorne has managed to turn it around in the heat of the moment and finish on the podium in the past three races, including a win from fourth in Monaco, and two third-placed finishes in Berlin.
RESULTS: The full qualifying classification in Jakarta
"I'm confident we can race well although it's an unknown track for everyone with very hot conditions, and a lot to manage," he admits. "I think we have a good race car.
"I feel comfortable in the race as well, so I feel like I can do a really good job from from where I'm starting. I would have preferred to start a bit higher up - I think it would have been would have made my life a little bit easier, but it is what it is and we're going to try and make the most of it."
After his run of success in Monaco and Berlin, the Belgian driver sits at the top of the Championship standings with 111 points - 12 points ahead of ROKiT Venturi Racing's Edoardo Mortara in second and 16 points ahead of DS TECHEETAH and Jakarta pole-sitter Jean-Eric Vergne in third.
Further down the order sits Vandoorne's teammate and reigning champion Nyck de Vries in sixth with 65 points, as the Mercedes drivers trade places at the top following de Vries' title win last year.
Despite the shuffle, Mercedes' pace has been a key theme and has enabled Mortara to gain a firm foothold in the championship behind the wheel of his Mercedes-powered Venturi.
Factor in the competition in the form of Mortara, DS TECHEETAH's Vergne and Jaguar frontman Mitch Evans and it's starting to look very tight at the top as the championship hots up heading into its second half.
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