Vandoorne content after impressive F1 debut
Stoffel Vandoorne felt he maximised the opportunity to showcase his talent after scoring a point on his Formula 1 debut standing in for Fernando Alonso at McLaren.
The reigning GP2 champion received a surprise call up to deputise for Alonso at the Bahrain Grand Prix after FIA doctors deemed the double world champion unfit to compete following his crash at Albert Park.
Highly rated by the Woking operation, the Belgian impressed throughout the weekend as he out-qualified his vastly more experienced team-mate Jenson Button, before going on to finish 10th in Sunday’s race.
The 24-year-old, who started from 12th on the grid, declared himself content with his display as the reserve driver opened McLaren’s account for the season.
Team-mate Button retired from the race with a mechanical failure.
“It has been a dream weekend for me. It is never easy when you get in a car you haven’t tested before,” said Vandoorne.
“I have felt confident in the car and I think I have made the most of it.
“I have really tried to enjoy my weekend. I know it is not easy when you only get one shot at driving the car, but I felt I had everything under control.
“It was all about not making any mistakes and we managed that and I got one point, so I’m pretty happy with that.
“The car felt very good. We made some good progress and there may have been an opportunity to get another point as I was getting close to (Valtteri) Bottas (who finished ninth) at the end.”
Vandoorne says he is unsure whether he will continue to stand in for Alonso at the Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso is due to undergo a further chest scan before receiving the green light to compete at Shanghai.
“At the moment I don’t know what is going to happen at China and I’m not thinking about it,” added Vandoorne.
“I’m just very happy with the weekend with the one chance I have had.”