McLaren team boss Eric Boullier has said Stoffel Vandoorne struggled to deal with the limelight in the early stages of the season, but is now delighted with his progress.
The Belgian was largely overshadowed by his team-mate Fernando Alonso and was called out publicly by Boullier for his disappointing perofrmances.
“Unfortunately for Stoffel, he was at the centre of the attention of the press and spectators as he became the teammate at McLaren of a world champion,” Boullier told Canal Plus.
“But everyone who made their debuts in recent years, including Max Verstappen, went through several difficult months before they began to reveal their potential, but it was less noticed.”
Vandoorne is now beginning to get into the groove at McLaren, capable of out-qualifying Alonso on merit and posting two career-best P7 finishes at Singapore and Malaysia to overtake his team-mate in the World Championship standings.
Boullier added: “During this time, Stoffel learned a lot and he’s now doing an excellent job. He is completely confident in himself and is always gaining more experience.”
Vandoorne has already been confirmed as one of McLaren’s two drivers next season, with Alonso expected to be confirmed within the next couple of weeks.
There are reports circulating that rising star Lando Norris will replace Jenson Button as the team’s reserve driver.