JANUARY 4, 2017

Vandoorne plays down Hamilton comparison

Stoffel Vandoorne is refusing to compare himself with Lewis Hamilton.

Stoffel Vandoorne is refusing to compare himself with Lewis Hamilton.

In 2007, then-rookie Hamilton burst onto the scene at McLaren and unsettled the established star and champion Fernando Alonso.

Now, Belgian Vandoorne is the rookie set to take on the famous Spaniard.

"I do not want to be Hamilton," Spanish reports quote 24-year-old Vandoorne as telling La Gazzetta. "I want to be Vandoorne and I'll give my maximum."

Vandoorne comes to the F1 grid with a strong reputation from his junior career, insisting he does not expect Alonso to give him advice.

"I do not expect anything from the relationship between Fernando and I," he said.

"I didn't exactly get advice from Fernando and (Jenson) Button until now, but I was always close to them at the circuit, watching and trying to learn. But I have my own style," Vandoorne insisted.

He also played down any comparison with Max Verstappen, a rookie who arrived in F1 two years ago and caused a sensation.

"Max and I came to F1 on very different paths," said Vandoorne. "I started racing a little late, did not have much money and didn't know what categories to do.

"Max did everything much faster. I lack experience in grands prix, but I'm more than ready," he added.

As for racing for the same team as F1 legends Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, Vandoorne said: "I drove his (Senna's) car in some shows a couple of times and also Prost's, and it's amazing how much F1 has changed.

"Emulating them would be incredible but I don't want to talk about that now."