Despite the recent poor performances from his McLaren F1 Team, Stoffel Vandoorne is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel of the MCL33 this weekend at the Hungaroring, a track he has fond memories of after winning there during his rookie GP2 Series season in 2014.
He also secured a podium finish there in his GP2 winning season in 2015 and broke into the points for the first time during the 2017 Formula 1 season there when he claimed tenth place for the then Honda-powered team.
Now with Renault powering his McLaren, the under-pressure Belgian will be hoping for a change of luck this weekend as he bids to score points for the first time since the Azerbaijan Grand Prix at the end of April, with Vandoorne currently on eight points after the first eleven races of 2018.
“I really like driving at the Hungaroring,” said Vandoorne. “It’s a great track that’s fun to drive and the configuration is a lot of short, quick bursts of speed separated by slower corners and just one straight, so it’s got a mix of a lot of different elements.
“I know the track well and I’ve won there in GP2 so I’m looking forward to hopefully a more positive weekend than we’ve had recently.”
The last two Grand Prix at Silverstone and the Hockenheimring have been almost total nightmares for Vandoorne, with the team currently investigating why his MCL33 does not seem to be working as well as team-mate Fernando Alonso’s is, but the Belgian can take some positives from Germany, with the thirteenth-place finish coming despite being almost forced to retire early on when he slowed on track.
“Although we didn’t get the result we hoped for in Germany, all things considered after such a dramatic race with the changing weather, almost retiring the car, getting back into the race and then making the right choices as the rain came down to finish P13, was actually quite a positive end to the weekend,” said the Belgian.
“I hope we can continue to make a step forward in Hungary, especially with the summer break just around the corner. I’ve really struggled with my car over the past couple of races and I know the team is working hard to understand why so we can start attacking the weekends again.
“The Hungarian Grand Prix is always a big challenge given the heat and the unforgiving nature of the track so the aim for us is to keep our heads down, keep pushing hard and hopefully we can make some progress.”