Vandoorne: ‘Alonso not my mentor!’

McLaren Stoffel Vandoorne sees team mate Fernando Alonso as just another competitor, dispelling the notion the Spaniard is a mentor for the Belgian charger.

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Vandoorne endured a troubled start to his first full season of Formula 1, hindered in the first half of the season by Honda’s reliability woes and by an inability to extract the most out of his MCL32 compared to his prestigious team mate.

The 25-year-old put his head down and improved his driving over the summer, eventually performing on a par with Alonso.

Vandoorne denied however that his relationship was comparable to that of Lance Stroll and Felipe Massa at Williams, insisting teh two-time world champion was not his mentor.

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“No!” he told Brazil’s Globo.

“Of course we work together on the same team and in the same direction, but he does not stand next to me helping.

“We are very open and have normal conversations when we are out of the car,” Vandoorne added. “But he is not there to be my mentor.

“Maybe Lance needs this, I don’t know.”

Vandoorne admitted however that racing alongside one of F1’s greatest drivers did have its benefits.

“He’s probably the best reference in formula one,” Vandoorne agrees.

“I have a good relationship with him, even if there is a lot of competition, which is normal.

“We do not have a strong package this year, but it has been positive for me because I had the chance to get quite close to him,” he added.

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