Kevin Magnussen admits that he is surprised that Stoffel Vandoorne has yet to show the kind of pace he possesses so far during his rookie campaign, with the Belgian often well adrift of team-mate Fernando Alonso.
Vandoorne has failed to advance from Q1 in six of the seven races of the season, and although Alonso has also failed to break into the top ten, the Spaniard has been much closer to achieving that feat than the Belgian.
Magnussen, a former member of the McLaren F1 Team’s junior programme that Vandoorne is also a graduate, feels that the Belgian can be ‘very good’ in Formula 1, but must overcome the tough start to his 2017 campaign, with a best finish of thirteenth in the opening seven races.
“I don’t know why he is struggling,” said Magnussen, who now races for the Haas F1 Team. “He’s clearly not in his happy place because he wouldn’t be half a second off Fernando otherwise. I’m a bit surprised – he can be very good I’m sure.
“I guess I can relate a little bit. He also has a very good opportunity as he’s up against someone who is seen as one of the best in Formula 1.
“He has the opportunity to really show himself. I know he’s a very good driver and I know he can do it, but he’s struggling for different reasons but it can be very tough in his situation.”