Stoffel Vandoorne’s struggles this season have been well documented. What hasn’t helped his case is his struggles with the MCL33. The Belgian has been slower than Fernando Alonso in qualifying at the last 17 consecutive races.
However, Alonso defended his teammate, harking back to the 2014 campaign as an example. He hopes to give his team mate a confidence boost, especially after his heartbreaking retirement in Hungary.
In 2014, the two-time world champion was out-qualified by Raikkonen in just three races. On and average, he was half a second quicker than the Finn in qualifying. This is why he feels that Vandoorne has fared better during their time working together.
“I think it’s difficult to beat me,” joked Alonso. “He always has to be a little bit behind. But if you see previous team mates, they were a lot further behind than Stoffel. Like in 2014 or something like that, it was six or seven-tenths to Kimi every race. He’s less than that now.
“I don’t think his reputation is going down. The car is what it is. The car is underperforming. We as a team are trying to find the problem and to have both cars in the same conditions, with the same performance. He has shown his talent already. There’s no need for proof.”
When he entered the sport, Vandoorne had a glowing resume, with the GP2 title wrapped up in a dominant fashion in 2015. It is because of this that Alonso believes that it’s only a matter of time before he delivers in F1.
“Being a champion in every series before Formula 1, right now in a difficult car with some difficulties last year – and this year as well. He’s OK. He will be very close in performance as soon as the car is delivering the normal performance.
“There’s nothing I need to say to him. For his reputation for you guys, you need to wait and see, or see the result before Silverstone or last year in terms of qualifying.”