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F1 feels 'more natural' second time around - Vandoorne

©McLaren

Stoffel Vandoorne took to his McLaren MCL33 like a fish to water during a pre-season period which felt more "natural" to the rookie than his build-up twelve months earlier.

The Belgian faced a challenge from the outset in 2017, having to compose with his relative inexperience - limited to a one-off race with McLaren at Bahrain in 2016 - and Honda's dismal reliability issues.

Limited mileage ensued before the season got under way, but while recent preparations were somewhat disrupted by niggling issues, Vandoorne says it all fell smoothly in to place this year.

"It’s definitely very different, the feeling this year compared to last year," explained the 25-year-old.

"Obviously last year I was a rookie, I had to learn a lot of things, go through a lot of things, testing was kind of getting myself ready.

"[This year] I turned up and the moment I stepped into the car everything feels so natural, normal, straightaway, where you are, you have a good feeling about everything.

"I spend a lot of time at the factory as well with the aerodynamicists to try and develop the car in the way I want it, so far everything is very positive, very happy, and I can’t complain."

©McLaren

Fernando Alonso sees McLaren fighting among the top midfield contenders this year, but his team mate prefers to wait a bit before delivering any predictions.

“It’s too early to tell, we’ll have to wait and see," says Vandoorne.

"The feeling is positive, I don’t want to make any predictions now, I think it’s better for us to keep working hard and deliver a strong package.

"Then it’s up to us to go racing and deliver some good results, we’ll have to wait and see."

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