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2018 F1

Vandoorne lacked ‘confidence’ from McLaren

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As his F1 career ends, Stoffel Vandoorne has hinted he was the victim of politics at McLaren this year.

The Belgian said he had “fun” during his last race for the struggling British team in Abu Dhabi, before switching to Formula E and a Mercedes role for 2019.

“It was a great fight with Esteban and Romain, as we know our car is not at the level of Force India and Haas,” he is quoted by La Derniere Heure.

“Now I’m going to relax for a few days, empty my head and switch to electric mode,” Vandoorne smiled.

Some in the paddock are confused as to why Vandoorne’s F1 career did not flourish, given how dominant he was in the junior categories.

“You have not seen everything that went on behind the scenes — all the politics,” he said.

“I cannot say everything, but perhaps you can imagine. Personally I have no regrets, I did my job as best as I could.

“What I missed the most in some moments was the feeling of the confidence of the team.

“It’s not always easy to perform and give the best of yourself when you know that they are negotiating with other drivers at the same time, but I did not give up and I ended my season with some good races,” Vandoorne added.

As for whether F1 will see Vandoorne again, the 26-year-old is set to work in Mercedes’ simulator next year and he said: “I don’t know.

“But life sometimes surprises you. Maybe one day we’ll meet here again.”

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