Vandoorne: Nobody noticed my highs during F1 spell with McLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne believes "no-one really noticed" his strongest races in Formula 1 and that there was "nothing more I could have done" amid McLaren's woes

Vandoorne: Nobody noticed my highs during F1 spell with McLaren

Vandoorne joined McLaren at the beginning of 2017 as a replacement for Jenson Button, following an impressive junior single-seater career in which he dominated the '15 GP2 championship and then finished fourth in Super Formula.

Since joining the F1 grid, during a troublesome spell for McLaren, Vandoorne has struggled to make a similar impact and will be replaced at the Woking outfit in 2019 by rookie Lando Norris.

Vandoorne was outqualified by team-mate Fernando Alonso at every single race in 2018 and ended the year 16th in the championship, but insists that some strong performances have been hidden by McLaren's run of poor form.

"It's never easy when you're not in the right car," said Vandoorne.

"I think I've been doing some really strong races this season and no one's really noticed.

"But if at that time you find yourself in one of the strongest cars you're suddenly fighting for victory, or you're fighting for second or third.

"It just changes the perspective of the people so much, which is a shame in a way.

"I guess it's always been that way. In that regard, it's a shame to be in that position, but there's nothing more I could have done."

Vandoorne's time with McLaren comprised the final year of its relationship with Honda and a 2018 in which the team produced a poor car.

It has not won a race since the end of 2012 and that six-season winless run is double the length of the next-worst period in its history.

"Everything was probably right until I got to race for the team, and then we probably had our two worst seasons in the history of McLaren," said Vandoorne.

"In that respect, it's not been ideal. But that's, unfortunately, something I couldn't change.

"I'm not here to moan about that or complain about that, I'm just looking ahead to see what opportunities come up."

Vandoorne scored a best finish of seventh in his two years at McLaren, in both Singapore and Malaysia in 2017.

He said he is content with what he has achieved in F1, ahead of his departure to Formula E with the Mercedes-linked HWA team.

"There's always a few high points," he said.

"This year, Bahrain was probably one of my highlight races where we were last after Turn 1 and had a good recovery into the points.

"I think Mexico was pretty good, and actually I think Brazil was one of my best ones as well. Sometimes you're not really rewarded with points.

"The highlight was probably the start of the [2018] season. We came to Melbourne [where Vandoorne and team-mate Alonso both finished in the points] very underprepared.

"Everything was looking great for the next part of the season but, unfortunately, it didn't go the way we wanted to.

"Nevertheless, I'm happy with what we've done."

shares
comments
The findings that make halo criticism irrelevant

Previous article

The findings that make halo criticism irrelevant

Next article

Red Bull needs to instil 'discipline' into Gasly for 2019 promotion

Red Bull needs to instil 'discipline' into Gasly for 2019 promotion
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Drivers Stoffel Vandoorne
Teams McLaren
Author Adam Cooper
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021