Stoffel Vandoorne says his frustrations at McLaren only gives him stronger motivation to gain “rewards” to see the team through its “tough time”.

With McLaren signing Carlos Sainz Jr as Fernando Alonso's replacement for 2019, the Belgian driver has come under sustained pressure at the team with reserve driver Lando Norris looking to break into Formula 1 from next year.

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It is believed McLaren is assessing Vandoorne and Norris for next season with the Belgian expressing his full focus on retaining his spot at the Woking-based squad following a tough start to his F1 career with underperforming cars.

“I’d like it to work out with McLaren because obviously we’re going through a tough time and the reward would be so much nicer if we can get into a winning position together again,” Vandoorne said. “When you go through struggles and manage to get back on top it’s much more rewarding, but we’ll see.

“In this current situation we have and all the problems we’ve been running through I think Fernando [Alonso] is probably most used to driving in complicated situations, let’s say, so I’ve had a very good benchmark.

“I think if the conditions are better and everything runs a bit more smooth there is a lot more potential to be much closer with each other.”

Following a frustrating home race last time out at Spa-Francorchamps finishing down in 15th place and last of the classified finishers, Vandoorne felt McLaren had made no progress in 2018 but the Belgian driver moved to clarify his comments at Monza ahead of the Italian Grand Prix.

“We started on a reasonably competitive level this season with scoring quite a few points in the opening couple of races,” he said. “Like I said we’ve not progressed as well as some of our competitors so we’re struggling a bit more now.

“I think next year definitely we need to make a good step forward, the target for us this year was to be more or less the fourth quickest team which we’ve not managed to achieve up until now. I don’t think that target should really change.”

 

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