Stoffel Vandoorne believes his Hungarian Grand Prix performance showed his true form after a run of difficult races ahead of the summer break.
McLaren started the year strongly, scoring points with both cars in three of the first four races. Although he was second to teammate Fernando Alonso on each occasion, Vandoorne’s form then dropped off and he was eliminated in Q1 in each of the last five races. However, armed with a new chassis after having complained of handling issues since Silverstone, the Belgian delivered an impressive drive in Budapest to run directly behind Alonso in the top 10 before retiring with a gearbox issue.
“I mean, from a personal side it felt good,” Vandoorne said. “I think we’ve shown that the pace was back to where it has always been, and I think on a personal note I can be happy. It’s just a shame we couldn’t finish it off with a double-points score.
“I’m not thinking about [my future], to be honest. I’m just doing the best I can. I think I’ve been focusing on that all the time, and Hungary was a good sign that everything is back to normal. So I’m looking forward to the summer break to relax a bit, get my head clear and then turn up in Spa for my home race.”
While encouraged by the performance, Vandoorne admits that ending the first part of the season with a retirement was tough to take.
“I think as a team we did everything right and it hurts, definitely, not to finish with points,” he said.
“It shows it’s a mechanical sport. Really disappointing. I think we did everything right. We had a superb start, gained a few places on the opening lap. We had really good tire management, really good pace when it mattered. We managed to go long, do the overcut and make the tires last.
“The team had good pit stops, we had both cars in eighth and ninth very comfortably, so we only had to bring the car home and we would have had some points. But unfortunately we had a technical issue.
“It’s disappointing to finish like that, but I think as a team we’ve done everything right, we got ourselves as high as we could but it’s just a shame not to finish the first part of the season with a few more points.”