MAKING HIS MARK: Belgian rookie Stoffel Vandoorne made the most of his one-shot chance during his F1 debut at the 2016 Bahrain GP for McLaren-Honda. Image: AFP / Mohammed Al-Shaikh
Manama - Stoffel Vandoorne made his point in more ways than one on Sunday when he marked his Formula 1 debut by finishing 10th at the 2016 Bahrain Grand Prix.
The 24-year-old Belgian scored his and his McLaren Honda team's first point of the new season in his maiden outing after stepping in to replace injured two-time champion Fernando Alonso.
'Wait and see'
Vandoorne said: "I'm happy that I didn't make any mistakes, operationally. To come away from my first race with a point is a bonus...
"This weekend was a big opportunity for me to get in the car - and I'm very happy I got it. I think I made the most of it and showed what I'm capable of - now it's just wait and see."
His prospects of another outing at the Chinese Grand Prix later this month depend on Alonso's recovery from the rib injuries incurred in his high-speed crash at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.
He did his reputation no harm with an outstanding debut display - out-qualifying his team mate 2009 world champion Jenson Button to take 12th on the grid and then finish the race in 10th.
'One shot chance'
"I think for my Formula 1 debut, I can be very happy with that," he reflected. "From the beginning of the weekend, I felt very comfortable in the car.
"I see this as a one-shot chance and I'm grateful for the opportunity I had..."
Team mate Button, who was among the early retirements with a power unit failure, said Vandoorne had done a "good job".
He said: "He knows the team very well. We've seen with youngsters they can get in these cars and be very quick in qualifying...
"It's a pity that I couldn't show you what I could do this weekend - I think we would've got some really good points, but luck is not on our side at the moment."