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Vandoorne eyes F1 drive after GP2 title triumph

12 Oct 2015

McLaren protege Stoffel Vandoorne is optimistic he can earn a seat on next year's Formula One grid after his dominant 2015 GP2 campaign, which saw him wrap up the championship in Russia on Sunday.

Vandoorne broke a number of records en route to this year's title, which he sealed with two rounds remaining. And while the 23-year-old Belgian’s chances of landing a McLaren race seat for next year were effectively ended by the team retaining Jenson Button, he says he still has options.

"[Formula One is] something I've been working on for quite some time, and now to have the GP2 title here is a bit of a luxury I would say with two rounds to go," Vandoorne said after celebrating in Sochi. 

"The next [race] is in over a month, so I can concentrate on preparing next year which is great. Unfortunately, nothing is decided for the moment, but I'm optimistic. I feel there are some chances out there. The next days and weeks are going to be crucial for next year."

Vandoorne has amassed five GP2 wins and 13 podiums already this year - tallies bettered only by Pastor Maldonado and Lewis Hamilton respectively - while he now has eight poles in total, more than any other driver in the series' history.

"I would say from a personal point of view, it's definitely the best season I've had,” he added. "I've always had the speed since the beginning of my career, but over the years, I wasn't always putting everything together although I was always finishing quite high in the championships. Even now, there are some things I can improve on! But this year, I was able to put everything together."

While GP2 has a rich history of drivers graduating into F1 racing, the series’ last champion to do so was Romain Grosjean in 2011. Among the F1 teams with potential vacancies for 2016 are Haas, Lotus and Marussia.