2019 F1

Vandoorne only needs more time to shine – Mercedes

Stoffel Vandoorne only needs time to find his feet in formula one.

That is the view of Toto Wolff, responding to those like 1996 world champion Damon Hill who think Belgian Vandoorne has so far failed to “get people to say ‘Wow’.”

And Vandoorne’s Belgian compatriot Thierry Boutson said: “I’m his biggest fan, but his future is at stake now.”

“For me it’s pretty simple with Stoffel,” Wolff told the Belgian broadcaster RTBF when asked about the McLaren driver.

“He is one of the most talented drivers on the grid. He beat everyone in GP2 and when he came to F1 many people said he was a future Senna.

“Expectations and comparisons like that are difficult for any young driver. It takes time,” Wolff added.

“You have to give a driver time to get kilometres and to learn. The whole environment is difficult and we had a good example last year with Valtteri Bottas who had a very good start but then it didn’t go so well.

“Now he has come back very strong,” Wolff said. “I have no doubt that Stoffel has the intelligence and the talent to progress and become a very great driver. I hope he will get that time.”

But for now, it seems there will be no vacancies at Mercedes, amid rumours Bottas will be retained and Lewis Hamilton will eventually sign a new deal for 2019.

“I’m very cool about that,” Wolff smiled when asked about the delayed Hamilton contract.

“We have good discussions, we are even laughing together about it and it’s just talking about little things. It’s a very important contract for Lewis, perhaps the penultimate in his career, but I have no doubt that he will sign,” Wolff said.

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