Stoffel Vandoorne says after McLaren-Honda's early season pain when the team get things dialled in he can fight for points having taken back-to-back seventh place finishes.

The Belgium driver backed up his best F1 result of his burgeoning career from Singapore with another seventh place finish at the Malaysia Grand Prix to leapfrog team-mate Fernando Alonso, Haas’s Kevin Magnussen and Renault’s Jolyon Palmer to take 14th in the drivers’ standings.

After an impressive start on the opening lap to jump up to fifth place, Vandoorne says he enjoyed a trouble-free race to eventually finish seventh and feels if McLaren can repeat more flawless race weekends further points finishes won’t be out of reach in the final five races in 2017.

“I’m extremely happy with the performance today and all weekend,” Vandoorne said. “I pushed it extremely hard today in the race, had an amazing start and yeah just had to manage the tyres, the fuel until the end.

“We had extremely good pace considering the circuit so yeah, I'm happy with that, I'm very satisfied with seventh. At the beginning of the year it was hurting to not have the track time but lately even when things don't go 100% right I'm still able to recover much better. I think it's just the relationship with the team, all the effort I've been putting in is paying off massively.

“We still know that there is very little opportunity for us to score points but we have to keep pushing. It shows this weekend that when everything falls more or less together, when we extract the most out of the car then great things are possible.”

 

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