Vandoorne: McLaren's troubles make it "difficult" to impress

Formula 1 rookie Stoffel Vandoorne has admitted it is difficult for him to show what he is capable of while McLaren-Honda remains not competitive.

Vandoorne: McLaren's troubles make it "difficult" to impress
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32, leads Antonio Giovinazzi, Sauber C36
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32
Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren MCL32

The 2015 GP2 champion is contesting his first full F1 season with the Woking squad, partnering Fernando Alonso after making his debut in a one-off outing last season in Bahrain.

Vandoorne qualified 18th after a fuel-pressure problem and ended last Sunday’s race in Australia 13th, last of those who finished.

Asked how hard it was to show his skills at the moment, Vandoorne replied: “It’s difficult for sure when the package is not performing as it should be.

“We need a big push from the team to push us further up the grid, but we were aware of that after Barcelona already.

“From my position the only thing I can do is keep pushing hard with the team, fighting every position I can. [I need to] do my best with the engineers and extract the maximum out of the package I have.

“I think I more or less got the most out of [the car].”

The Belgian had the lion’s share of McLaren’s misfortune in the opening grand prix of the season, losing time in the pits with an electrical problem and suffering other troubles, but made it to the finish.

Vandoorne said the team’s performance in Melbourne, where Alonso battled for a point throughout “the best race of my life” but retired with a suspected damaged floor, was a surprise after a disastrous pre-season testing programme.

“It was a difficult race, but we knew that before coming here,” said Vandoorne. “We finished the race with one car, even with the issues we had.

“Fernando nearly got to the finish as well. After Barcelona we didn’t really expect that.

“It wasn’t easy for me. It was very busy behind the steering wheel, playing with a lot of toys and managing a lot of switches to try and bring the car home.

“I lost some electronics, at some point I lost the dash as well, so I didn’t know what was going on.

“We had to come into the pitlane and make a pitstop a lot earlier to do a full power cycle on the car. It’s a first milestone to finish the race already.”

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