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- Updated: October 17, 2017
McLaren driver Stoffel Vandoorne endured such a challenging start to his Formula One career clargely due to the fact that he had such a strong teammate in Fernando Alonso, Eric Boullier has claimed.
Now, however, Vandoorne has grown in confidence and is showing just how good he can potentially be, McLaren racing director Boullier said.
Vandoorne is making his full-season debut this term and has impressed lately, scoring points for McLaren in Singapore and Malaysia with two seventh places to move ahead of Alonso in the drivers’ standings.
Boullier pointed out that a change in style for Vandoorne since June has been pivotal in his recent change of fortunes and the rookie has begun to get on top of his difficulties with the tyres.
“Hard work, trust, confidence and talent,” said Boullier.
“He has been very exposed because of his teammate, Fernando, a double world champion.
“Any young driver who joins F1 in the last five years had a period, the same as Stoffel, to adapt to F1.
“If you’re in a (smaller) team, it’s more quiet. But if you’re at McLaren, next to Fernando Alonso, obviously it’s more difficult.
“Since June now, the approach we had with Stoffel, and his approach with us, has been a bit different. We’ve worked on his understanding of F1 and obviously tyres.
“Now he has gained the confidence he has needed to be able to extract the best out of his car. This is why you’re seeing the Stoffel we are expecting to unlock.”
Vandoorne said that he felt much more comfortable about his standing in the team now and it was enabling him to give the best possible results.
“The way I am working with the team, working with engineers has developed a lot,” said Vandoorne.
“Having had the opportunity to have a bit more track time enabled us to see what I needed from the car, to understand what I needed from the car.
“I am just confident that things will work and things will go and that is a nice feeling, to feel comfortable and do with the car what you want to do.”