Monday 19 December at 08:35 :
Dec.19 (GMM) Stoffel Vandoorne has admitted he is unlikely to be in a position to win races straight away in formula one.
Although several years older than Max Verstappen, Belgian Vandoorne is already being compared with the young Dutchman as he prepares to make his full F1 debut for McLaren-Honda in 2017.
"That's normal, although we are very different," Vandoorne, 24, told Belgium's Sporza news agency.
"We have different characters. Many enthusiasts are looking forward to a fight between us, and hopefully it will be for victories."
When asked if that wheel-to-wheel for victory might happen as soon as 2017, Vandoorne answered: "Why not, but it will depend on the car.
"It probably will not be enough, but we will take big steps forwards.
"Technically, the team has some difficult seasons behind it, but next year looks positive even if it remains difficult to predict.
"Probably we will take a big step forward, which is also what we need. But if we will be able to fight for victory, I cannot say yet," he added.
Meanwhile, Vandoorne ruled out any suggestion that he might be an outside contender to replace the newly-retired Nico Rosberg at Mercedes, after Toto Wolff made flattering remarks about him recently.
"I have a contract with McLaren-Honda and I'm super happy about it," he said. "I am focusing now on next season and not thinking about the other teams."