Vandoorne makes 'first overtake' of 2017
16 May 2017 – Stoffel Vandoorne says a move on Jolyon Palmer at the Spanish Grand Prix was the first of his so far challenging full rookie campaign in Formula 1.
Vandoorne's McLaren has suffered the bulk of Honda's reliability issues in 2017, resulting in an array of new power unit elements, and grid penalties in Russia and Spain.
Vandoorne has also struggled relative to team-mate Fernando Alonso, highlighted in Barcelona, where he dropped out in Q1 in 19th, and Alonso starred en route to seventh.
In the race, Vandoorne made early progress, including an overtake on Renault driver Palmer, but ultimately dropped out after a clash with Williams' Felipe Massa.
"The manoeuvre on Jolyon was my first overtake this season, so at least I got something out of the race," Vandoorne reflected.
"The fact that that move felt so good shows that our package still isn't strong enough, and we're still not in a position to fight with the others.
"We've taken a step forward for this race with the upgrades we brought here, and some areas are definitely improving, but in the race we're still struggling a bit.
"Hopefully we can carry some more improvements into the next race."
Vandoorne will take a three-place grid penalty in Monaco for his Turn 1 collision with Massa, after the stewards deemed that he was at fault.
"I don't want to make any predictions for Monaco, but the chassis has been improving, and hopefully we'll bring a couple more updates that will pay off," he said.
"We'll have to wait and see, and try our best; that's all we can do at the moment."
Jenson Button will partner Vandoorne in the Principality, the 2009 World Champion standing in for Fernando Alonso, who is tackling the Indianapolis 500.