Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – McLaren’s Stoffel Vandoorne said he had fun racing hard in his final outing with the team before he leaves for Formula E.
After a tough year with the team, Vandoorne’s fortunes weren’t to change in his final race at Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi. The Belgian driver came home P14, second last of the classified runners, having been knocked out in Q1 on Saturday.
Nevertheless, it was a decent race for Vandoorne. He had the opportunity to get his elbows out during a great battle with Haas’ Romain Grosjean & Force India’s Esteban Ocon during the pitstop sequences, fending them off for a little while when, by rights, they should have been easily able to get past on fresher tyres.
That was…….. FUN 😁😁 https://t.co/CD1SeKVphK
— Stoffel Vandoorne (@svandoorne) November 26, 2018
“No points today to finish the year, but nevertheless it was a pretty good race.” said Vandoorne. “I had fun out there today – we knew it was going to be a tough one for us, especially without there being many incidents. We fought very hard and closed in on a couple of cars, and that was a really enjoyable part of the race. I fought like hell to keep cars behind!”
The Belgian driver struggled to match his World Champion teammate Fernando Alonso throughout the entirety of his two years alongside the Spaniard, and was drubbed 21-0 in qualifying outings in 2019. He was frequently knocked out in Q1, compromising his races, but he still says he’s happy with what he’s achieved:
“I’m happy with what we did this year with what we had. It’s great to finish the season – today we gave everything and now I’m happy to see the chequered flag. Unfortunately, we weren’t quick enough for points, but that was always going to be the case. I’m happy with how the race went, I gave it everything.”
“I am so grateful to have been surrounded by these guys for the past 6 years. I have learned and grown so much not only as a driver, but as a person. Thanks for all the great memories Mclaren!”
In less than three weeks, Vandoorne gets stuck into his new role as race driver at HWA AG in Formula E. He’ll be taking part in the upcoming fifth season of the series, the first to use the new, more powerful Gen2 cars. Vandoorne says he can’t wait to start: “It’s time to celebrate a little bit and then time to move on to something fresh. I’m sure tomorrow my head will switch to my new challenge. I’m looking forward to it.”