Despite lagging behind Fernando Alonso in the standings, Stoffel Vandoorne believes he has shown McLaren why he deserves a third season in 2019.
While Alonso has bagged 40 points in this year’s championship, Vandoorne has managed just eight.
The Belgian is also losing out to the Spaniard on Saturdays where he has yet to outqualify Alonso.
His form has led to speculation that Vandoorne could be out of McLaren come the end of the season, replaced by reserve driver and F2 championship contender Lando Norris.
“I think it’s the time of the year where everyone talks to everyone,” Vandoorne told Motorsport Week of the rumours.
“Before the summer break is usually a moment everyone speaks about the driver market and yeah, that’s kind of normal.
“We’ve never really discussed that with the media so I’m not really going to go into that.”
Pressed on whether he believes he’s done enough to stay at McLaren, he replied: “I think so yeah, I’m pretty sure.”
The 26-year-old Belgian racer does acknowledge that he hasn’t had the best time in Formula 1 since entering the sport last season when McLaren were still powered by Honda.
He is, however, adamant that he has built on that difficult first season this year.
“For sure it’s not been a year and a half I was hoping to have in Formula 1,” he said.
“Ultimately we’ve been struggling a lot in terms of the results, we’ve had both years a car that struggled to fight for points let’s say.
“It’s not always easy to show the right things in those circumstances. But that’s the situation we’re in.
“I feel I’ve taken a lot of positive out of this as well, in going through difficult times, how to deal with certain issues, is something I didn’t really have when I was in junior series.
“So the approach has been quite different and it made me definitely a stronger driver.
“Just being in your second season is very different to your first season.
“You feel much more comfortable in the way you prepare your weekends, the way you build up in the practice sessions to the race, you feel that a year of experience helps a lot.”