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Vandoorne "very lucky" with timing of McLaren F1 move – Magnussen

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Vandoorne "very lucky" with timing of McLaren F1 move – Magnussen
By:
Co-author: Oleg Karpov
Dec 27, 2016, 10:13 AM

Former McLaren driver Kevin Magnussen reckons Stoffel Vandoorne's promotion to the Woking-based team F1 line-up is well-timed for the Belgian's career.

Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren F1
Kevin Magnussen, Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne with the McLaren Mercedes MP4-29
Fernando Alonso, McLaren with Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
Fernando Alonso, McLaren, Stoffel Vandoorne, McLaren
The car of Stoffel Vandoorne, ART Grand Prix
Race 1 Winner Stoffel Vandoorne, ART Grand Prix
Stoffel Vandoorne, Dandelion Racing
(L to R): Fernando Alonso, McLaren with team mate Jenson Button, McLaren
Jenson Button, McLaren MP4-31 follows team mate Fernando Alonso, McLaren MP4-31
Jenson Button, McLaren with the media

Vandoorne, 2015 GP2 champion, is to contest his first full season in Formula 1 in 2017, partnered with two-time world champion Fernando Alonso.

Magnussen himself had stepped up to F1 with McLaren back in 2014, but was demoted to a reserve driver role at the end of the campaign despite a debut podium - and subsequently parted ways with the organisation a year later.

McLaren has gone through two tough years in F1 since, but Magnussen - who will drive for Haas F1 in 2017 - reckons that things are looking up for the Woking-based team.

Asked if he had any advice for Vandoorne, Magnussen told Motorsport.com: "I don't need to give him any advice. He knows how to do it himself. And he has some people there to support him.

"And I think he's been very lucky to come into Formula 1 in a very good time - come into McLaren in a very good time. I think a lot of good things are happening there. And I think it is a very good place to be at now.

"[In Alonso,] he is up against one of the best in the sport. He will be able to show properly what he can do, because of that. So I think he has everything that you can ask for to make a future for yourself in Formula 1."

Magnussen, who beat Vandoorne to the Formula Renault 3.5 title back in 2013, suggested that the Belgian would need to pay extra close attention to teammate Alonso in 2017.

"Stoffel comes from GP2 – I know he did Super Formula in Japan – but [from GP2] he is used to winning. He is used to being, you know, a little bit selfish in the way he is working - everyone is, who is winning," Magnussen said.

"You look after yourself. You focus on yourself. You don't need anyone else. You don't need to look at your teammate so much, because you easily beat him, and you have to focus on yourself. And now it's [going to be] different.

"He will have someone that he will have to pay attention to. He will have to look at what he [Alonso] is doing and learn from what he is doing.

"Because he [Alonso] is better than you to begin with, because he has so much experience. And this experience is what you need to really pay attention to and learn from it as much as you can."

Two seasons against Alonso were good for Button

Back in 2015, Alonso joining McLaren left Magnussen and Jenson Button battling for the second seat - and the Brit eventually got the nod.

Two years on, with Button having likely retired from F1, Magnussen says he is happy  that his former teammate got to face off against Alonso.

"He could have [retired] two years ago," Magnussen joked. "But it all turned out nicely for me anyway.

"You know, I'm happy he had two more years and I think it was good for him to have these seasons against Fernando and show that he is actually very good. I wasn't surprised, but he showed well against Fernando. And I think, perhaps, it is the right time to stop for him."

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