'Wrong' for McLaren F1 rookie Vandoorne to only focus on Alonso

McLaren Formula 1 rookie Stoffel Vandoorne believes it would be a mistake if he focused only on trying to beat team-mate Fernando Alonso this season

'Wrong' for McLaren F1 rookie Vandoorne to only focus on Alonso

The Belgian is replacing Jenson Button in 2017, having spent last year racing in Japan's Super Formula series after winning the GP2 title in '15.

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Vandoorne made his F1 debut standing in for an injured Alonso in Bahrain last year, scoring a point for 10th, and insists amid high expectations the priority is focusing on his own performance rather than the two-time champion.

"I have been able to work with him for the past two years and see how he operates in the team and how he pushes the team forward - I know very much what he is like," Vandoorne told Autosport's sister publication Motorsport.com.

"He is a very competitive driver and everybody knows his capabilities and still thinks he is one of the best around so I will definitely have a very good benchmark next to me.

"But for me it would be wrong to only focus on Fernando. Our main target is to get McLaren-Honda back to the front, which we will be focusing on.

"Then for me I just have to make sure that I make the most out of every situation, don't make any silly mistakes, and make sure I do everything right.

"When I do that, I usually manage to have some good results as well, so that for me will be the main focus."

Going up against Alonso will inevitably put a big spotlight on Vandoorne, but the 24-year-old says he is ready, and does not feel that there will be added pressure.

"F1 has always been a pressure environment and it has always been a world where you either perform or you don't," he said.

"I don't see it as any different.

"I've been asked to perform in every series I have been driving in, so of course F1 is another step up."

Having spent 2016 as McLaren's reserve, after two seasons as a test driver, Vandoorne feels he has gained from watching how Alonso and Button worked.

"It has been a good position to be in and see both sides of the garage, how they were preparing their weekend, building up to a Sunday race," he said.

"It is something that I haven't got much experience on myself yet.

"But I have some ideas and expectations on how to do it and, having had the chance to work with them, it gave me some more information to know how they did that."

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