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Vandoorne returns to where it all started - but with less expectations

©McLaren

McLaren's Stoffel Vandoorne returns to the venue which saw him make his grand F1 debut a uear ago, and clinch his first championship point.

The Belgian replaced a convalescent Fernando Alonso in Bahrain in 2016 after the Spanish drivers' massive crash in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Vandoorne pit in a solid performance to finish tenth, but he isn't expecting a repeat of that feat next weekend.

"I have lots of good memories from the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend in 2016," he says.

"We’re a year on now, I’m a full-time McLaren-Honda driver, and I’ve already gained a lot more experience in the past 12 months.

"So of course my aim is to work hard and improve every time I arrive at a Grand Prix."

Like his illustrious team mate,  Vandoorne longs for Honda to deliver the right blend of reliability and power, convinced his MCL32 chassis is probably as good as any other car out there.

"We were always expecting a difficult weekend in China, and I don’t know if it will get a lot better in Bahrain – it’s only one week later and there’s obviously a limit to how many changes we can apply in that time, but we’ll do our best as usual.

"The car is definitely improving and both Fernando and I feel confident and competitive, especially in the corners, so we’ll have to wait and see what’s possible at this track."

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