Beating Alonso not Vandoorne's main focus

ยฉ XPB 

Rookie Stoffel Vandoorne says that his main aim in his maiden F1 season is to bring McLaren-Honda back to the front, and not focus on beating Fernando Alonso.

The Belgian replaces Jenson Button this year at McLaren and there are high expectations from both team and driver.

Vandoorne made his F1 debut in Bahrain last year when he deputised for the injured Alonso, and brought his McLaren home in an impressive tenth place, scoring a championship point in the process.

While Alonso offers him a good benchmark, and one he will attempt to beat, Vandoorne has assigned himself a different target in priority.

"For me it would be wrong to only focus on Fernando," he told Motorsport.com.

"I think our main target is to get McLaren-Honda back to the front, which we will be focusing on.

"Then for me I just have to make sure that I make the most out of every situation, don't make any silly mistakes, and make sure I do everything right.

"When I do that, I usually manage to have some good results as well, so that for me will be the main focus."

Moving up the ranks in years past, Vandoorne never failed to deliver. But teh status of Grand Prix driver entails a whole other dimension of pressure and difficulties. The Belgian remains fairly unfazed however.

"I've been asked to perform in every series I have been driving in, so of course F1 is another step up.

"Plus you have all the media around every weekend, asking you questions after a bad race or whatever, so it is always going to be like that. But you know you are up for that."

Serving his apprenticeship as a McLaren reserve driver and as amere observer watching Alonso and Button at work, Vandoorne believes he made the most of the opportunity and comes in well prepared for the big time.

"For me it has been a good position to be in and see both sides of the garage, how they were preparing their weekend, building up to a Sunday race.

"It is something that I haven't got much experience on myself yet. But I have some ideas and expectations on how to do it and, having had the chance to work with them, it gave me some more information to know how they did that."

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