Stoffel Vandoorne: No one really noticed my strong races in 2018

Stoffel Vandoorne believes he put in some “really, really strong races” in 2018, but McLaren’s limitations in Formula 1 meant “no-one really noticed”.

Vandoorne scored just 12 points in 2018 – compared to the 50 amassed by team-mate Fernando Alonso – and also failed to out-qualify the Spaniard all season.

McLaren opted to replace Vandoorne with reserve Lando Norris for 2019.

Vandoorne was left without a Formula 1 seat, as options elsewhere receded, and he will instead compete in Formula E with the Mercedes-affiliated HWA Racelab team.

The Belgian reckons that McLaren’s position towards the rear of the 2018 grid meant that his highlights were not recognised.

“It’s never easy when you’re not in the right car,” said Vandoorne.

“I think I’ve been doing some really, really strong races this season and no one’s really noticed. 

“If at that time you find yourself in one of the strongest cars, you’re suddenly fighting for a victory or you’re fighting for second or third.

“It just changes the perspective of the people so much, which is a shame in a way but I guess it’s always been that way.

“In that regard it’s been a shame to be in that position. Nothing more I could’ve done.”

Vandoorne nonetheless stressed that he can look back on his time in Formula 1 on a positive note, in spite of the setbacks.

“I think if you look at pure races may be the best ones were [in 2017] in Singapore, Malaysia but I think our car at that time was much more competitive as well,” he said.

“If you look at this year, I think Bahrain was probably one of my highlight races where we were last after Turn 1, we had a good recovery into the points.

“I think Mexico was pretty good and actually I think Brazil was one of my best ones as well.

“But sometimes you’re not really rewarded with points and I’ve kind of been telling it a couple of times, I think I’ve had some really good races, some of them but not necessarily been rewarded with the final end result, let’s say.

“I take away a lot of positives. Good experience over the past two seasons and I’m sure I’ll be able to use that in my next chapter.”

Vandoorne is set to retain a Formula 1 connection by carrying out running in Mercedes’ simulator.