Cape Town - Stoffel Vandoorne has refuted suggestions that Fernando
Alonso is filling a mentor role for him, saying he's just his team-mate.
Vandoorne entered Formula 1 this season with McLaren and
couldn't have asked for a stronger team-mate.
Racing against Alonso, both struggling with their Honda
power unit, Vandoorne's season didn't get off to the best of starts, even
earning him a bit of criticism from racing director Eric Boullier.
However, of late the 25-year-old has come, scoring 13 points,
just two behind his double World Champion team-mate.
Asked whether he relied on Alonso as a mentor in the same
way that Lance Stroll did with Felipe Massa, he told Brazil's Globo Esporte:
"Of course we work together on the same team and in the
same direction. But he does not stand by me and help me.
"We are very open, we have normal conversations when we
are out of the car.
"But he is not there to be my mentor.
"Maybe Lance needs this, I don't know."
Vandoorne, however, admitted that racing alongside one of
F1's greatest drivers did have its benefits.
"He's probably the best reference in Formula One,"
"I have a good relationship with him, even if there is
a lot of competition, which is normal.
"We want to prove ourselves at all times, to show that
we can get the best out of each other.
"It has been going being his team-mate even though the
beginning was a bit difficult.
"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."