Vandoorne: 'Plenty of positives' from 2017
31 December 2017 – Stoffel Vandoorne insists there were "plenty of positives" to take from his rookie Formula 1 campaign, despite McLaren-Honda's setbacks in 2017.
Vandoorne, having made a one-off appearance in Bahrain last year, in which he scored a point, stepped up to a full-time race seat in place of Jenson Button in 2017.
However, Vandoorne struggled early on amid McLaren-Honda's reliability and performance problems, and frequently lagged behind team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Vandoorne, though, eventually broke into the points in Hungary and followed it up with back-to-back seventh places in Singapore and Malaysia, to finish the year four points behind Alonso.
"It's been a season with ups and downs," said Vandoorne, who finished 16th in the championship.
"It's probably not a season we would have liked to have, but there's plenty of positives to take from this season as well.
"The way we've developed the car, the way it is going for next year as well, everything is going in the right direction.
"All the effort we put in in the final races was the same [as] at the start of the year."
Vandoorne added that he has been able to soak up knowledge from Alonso, describing the Spaniard as the "best reference" as a team-mate.
"It has been a good season working with Fernando, he's probably the best reference I can have on the grid," explained Vandoorne.
"I think it was very good to be alongside him, to learn, the way he's building a weekend, the way he's working with the team setting up the car, preparing for a race.
"I gained a lot of experience and I'm looking forward to carrying that forward next year."