Stoffel Vandoorne has opened up McLaren-Honda's 2016 F1 account with a solid, error-free debut in the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Making his much anticipated debut with the team in place of the withdrawn Fernando Alonso, the reigning GP2 Series champion acquitted himself well in the MP4-31 having only driven it for the first time in FP1, Vandoorne out-qualifying Button in 12th place.
After a good start, Vandoorne proceeded to maximise his chances and stay out of trouble, making the most of a few retirements ahead of run inside the top ten for much of the race.
Just missing out on the chance to challenge Valtteri Bottas for ninth, tenth place for Vandoorne nonetheless enters a relatively exclusive group of drivers to score on their F1 debut, a result he is very satisfied with.
“Starting from P12 I thought there was a good chance to go and get one point at the end of the race and that's what we managed to do. I think we maximised all the opportunities we had today and right at the end we were very close to Valtteri Bottas, so maybe there was another point to take but I'm still very happy with my result.
“This doesn't really feel like a victory but I'm quite pleased with the way my weekend went and the fact I did a good job in the car right from the start. I didn't make any operational mistakes, and that was very important, so, on top of that, to come away with one point it's a bonus.”