Bahrain GP a major boost for Vandoorne, McLaren F1's Boullier feels

McLaren racing director Eric Boullier believes Stoffel Vandoorne's performance in the Bahrain Grand Prix will serve as a major boost to his Formula 1 career

Bahrain GP a major boost for Vandoorne, McLaren F1's Boullier feels

Drafted in as a late substitute for the injured Fernando Alonso, Vandoorne out-qualified Jenson Button before finishing 10th on his F1 race debut.

Bahrain Grand Prix driver ratings

It remains to be seen whether the weekend was a one-off for now, should Alonso pass his latest set of fitness tests, or whether the GP2 champion will again be in McLaren's MP4-31 for the next race in China.

Regardless of what transpires, Boullier said: "He had a good weekend in general to be honest, he didn't put a foot wrong, and he did a very good job.

"Having done such a weekend, for him it's a massive boost in confidence, a boost for his career.

"I know a lot of people have eyes on him, so it's good for him.

"The fact as well the whole weekend was trouble-free, he didn't do anything wrong, it's a massive boost."

Why Honda is still up against it

Suggested to Boullier that Vandoorne's late arrival - having only received the call on Thursday while in Japan preparing for a Super Formula test - was far from ideal, the Frenchman replied: "People keep saying that, but I don't believe it.

"At least he didn't have enough time to think about it, so it didn't put the wrong pressure on him, and we definitely didn't put any pressure on him.

"He did a brilliant job."

As far as Boullier is concerned, should Vandoorne drive again in Shanghai, he will be full of confidence going into the weekend.

"Now he's done this, obviously it's only going to be better," said Boullier.

"If he's racing again - which we don't wish - but if he had to then the team is now confident he can do the job."

As to whether Vandoorne's display placed any pressure on McLaren to make an early decision on its driver line-up for 2017, Boullier laughed before adding: "No pressure at all."

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