McLaren racing director Eric Boullier says Stoffel Vandoorne did a “brilliant job” by earning 10th place on his Formula 1 debut in Bahrain - and that it should be "a boost" for the Belgian's career.
Vandoorne, who only arrived at the circuit on Friday morning, had what most regarded as a near-perfect weekend, given his lack of preparation time.
“He had a good weekend in general, to be honest,” said Boullier. “He didn't put a foot wrong. He did a very good job.
“Having done such a weekend, it's a massive boost of confidence, it's a boost also for his career. I know a lot of people have some eyes on him.
"So it's good for him. The whole weekend went trouble-free, he didn't do anything wrong – it's a massive boost.”
Boullier said that arriving in Bahrain so late was not a handicap for Vandoorne: "I don't know, people keep saying it is, but I don't believe it.
"At least he didn't have time to think about it, so it didn't put the wrong pressure on him, and we definitely didn't put any pressure on him. He did a brilliant job.
“He went though it, and he's obviously only to be better if he's racing again [in China], which we don't wish. But if he had to, the team is now confident that he can do the job.”
Button should've been "at least seventh"
Boullier said that, had Jenson Button not retired early, the Briton would have been ahead of his rookie team mate.
“To be fair, we believe JB could have had a good result today, at least seventh. So that could have been a different story. He was very happy with the car balance, we could save a lot of fuel in the first laps of the race.
“The drivers are happy with the car, which is important. So when both PU and chassis converge to be something a bit better, we will be there. If we can be fighting for, let's say, the points already, it's an improvement, and we know where we can gain.”
Meanwhile, Boullier said that Fernando Alonso had benefited from spending the weekend with the team: “It was a good experience as well. The frustration is bigger, but he enjoyed to be around. It's funny sometimes, he was doing some very nice comments on the radio. Constructive comments.”