World Series Renault Slideshow
There are high hopes for Vandoorne in his first full F1 season … well, there would be if he wasn’t being asked to drive that McLaren with its Fred Flintstone power unit.
With impressive results at Formula Renault and GP2 level, and a job as McLaren’s third driver since 2014, Vandoorne found himself called up to replace the injured Fernando Alonso at last season’s Bahrain Grand Prix.
Boom. He outqualified team-mate Button and finished tenth, making him the first reserve driver to score debut points since one Sebastian Vettel back in 2007.
Vandoorne can walk the walk and, regardless of how McLaren and Honda address their challenges this season, he will be judged against team-mate Alonso. The early signs are encouraging – Vandoorne already has the feel of a driver who’s going to be in F1 for the long-run.