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alonso, vandoorne

Vandoorne: Alonso and I are very, very closely matched

alonso, vandoorne

Statistics show that McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne is being comprehensively trounced by his veteran teammate Fernando Alonso, but the Belgian driver believes he is very close to the pace of the Spaniard.

Alonso has scored 32 points and lies seventh in the championship – best of the rest behind the Big Three – while Vandoorne has eight points to his name and lies 15th on the points table. The elder statesman has also beaten the young gun in the last 11 qualifying sessions.

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Ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix, when asked to comment on these stats, Vandoorne said, “I don’t think it tells the whole story. Obviously the statistics maybe tell that but in reality, we are very, very closely matched.”

“In terms of where I was last year, I feel in a much better position this year. Things have not always gone my way – we lacked a bit of luck on some of the occasions. In some occasions, Fernando was just the quicker one – which is normal.”

The preseason expectations at McLaren in the wake of a change from Honda to Renault power were high, but goals and dreams came to nought as the MCL33 is nowhere near the pace of the top three which they naively targeted before the season began.

Vandoorne has yet to make it beyond Q2 so far this season and although clearly struggling he remains confident, “I think we are going in the right direction, the team is moving forward. We obviously had a tough start to the season.”

“There was a lot of expectations on our team and we have not managed to perform as expected. We keep improving race after race and hopefully this weekend we can make another step forward.”

Spain and Monaco were not kind to the 26-year-old: a DNF and 14th place, but he aims to change things in Montreal, “It’s been a little bit of a difficult period. I had a retirement in Spain and then Fernando had one in Monaco. Obviously, that wasn’t ideal but we are very close in this midfield. One weekend we are a bit stronger than another one.”

“I think the last couple of races have been difficult tracks for us as well in terms of overtaking. This weekend is a different story. It’s a new weekend and this track is completely different to the other ones and should provide us with some opportunities,” added Vandoorne.

Big Question: Is Stoffel doing enough to keep his seat with McLaren?