Vandoorne has high hopes of a sustained McLaren recovery

Amid signs of green shoots of recovery at McLaren, driver Stoffel Vandoorne says that the team should aim to be among the top four teams on a regular basis from now on.

After failing to score any championship points in the first seven races of 2017, McLaren acquired nine points in Hungary. Fernando Alonso finished in sixth place and Vandoorne in tenth, the first time this year both cars have finished in the top ten.

It means that McLaren is off the bottom of the constructors standings. Even so, it’s 30 points off overhauling Williams for fifth place. And as for fourth, Force India is a whopping 90 points more than McLaren’s current tally.

But Vandoone insists that McLaren should now aim to be the fourth-best team on a race-by-race basis for the rest of 2017.

“I think the aim for us should be to be the fourth best team on a more regular basis,” said the Belgian driver. “But the midfield is so tight and so close,”

“We’re definitely improving race-by-race and finding new stuff to make us feel more comfortable and more competitive.”

The team has also been improving in qualifying. At Silverstone, Vandoorne started from eighth on the grid, and at the Hungaroring both cars qualified in the top eight.

“Maybe Silverstone was a bit of a surprise to be that high up,” Vandoorne admitted. “[But] we see it at every weekend we’re going to – small details make a difference in how well you qualify and how well you race.

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“It shows that all the effort that we have been putting in have definitely gone in the right direction.”

“It’s still not where we want to be, definitely not,” he accepted. “But when opportunities like Hungary come up we have to take them.

“Hopefully we’ll have a couple more during the season and we can grab them as well.”

Vandoorne admitted that the first part of his rookie season had not gone well for him. However he was confident that he was now finding his feet.

“With the experience I have now I’m much more able to direct the way I want to go,” he said. “The last few races as well have been very good from a performance point of view. [I’ve been] matching Fernando on pace as well, which has been positive.

“Every weekend I’m making big steps forward and I’m pushing very hard with the team to get things in my way, trying to get the car to suit my style a little bit more.

“We just need to keep pushing in the right direction,” he added. “Hopefully we can show some further improvements for the rest of the season.

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