The Formula 1 driver that McLaren built

The Formula 1 driver that McLaren built

His rookie-season results may not show it, but Stoffel Vandoorne was born to be a racing driver. Peter Windsor sat alongside him in McLaren's 570GT to watch him at work

It's almost familiar but not completely so: the big LED sign. The intimidating gatehouse. The narrow, curving lane next to a lake filled with expensive carp. You daren't study the water for fear of running out of road in front of them all. Then there's the curved-edge structure by Foster and Partners. The glass. The pod lifts. The inward-opening doors. The Boulevard. Bruce's Austin Seven Chummy. And the rest of the Can-Am and F1 cars: orange at first, then red and white, then silver.

You whisper. The occasion, and the building, demands it. For this is the McLaren Technology Centre. And you tread softly, for there, backlit against the lake, sits the McLaren 570GT sportscar, doors up. And you reflect that you saw Bruce drive; you saw Denny win with an M19 and then with an M23. You were there when Emerson and James won in the '70s - and upwards it went. Ayrton and Alain in the gorgeous, Steve Nichols/Neil Oatley McLaren-Hondas. Mika. Lewis in 2008. You know the bloodline. You know the essence of what this part of Surrey, England, is inevitably all about.

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