As he left Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo to travel to the United States Grand Prix at Austin, Stoffel Vandoorne could have been forgiven for wondering if his luck was ever going to turn.
Having claimed just eight points from the 2018 Formula 1 season at that stage and on a run of 13 races without a score (a streak he was destined to prolong in America, coming home 11th) he'd just finished a stop-start two days of testing for the HWA Formula E squad. His time at Valencia - cut short by a day so he could carry on fulfilling his remaining commitments to McLaren - also featured an early 'race' retirement as he dropped out of the simulation event after just eight corners. Vandoorne then had the added ignominy of having his car declared 'red' - its electric systems still live, an FE first - and quarantined in the pitlane until it was made safe.
His two seasons (plus the one-off in place of the injured Fernando Alonso at the 2016 Bahrain GP) with McLaren have not reached the heights anyone expected after he dominated GP2 in '15 and arrived in F1 as one of its hottest new properties.