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Stoffel made a good start from the final slot on the grid, moving up to 15th by the end of the first lap. Despite a fierce battle and a strong passing manoeuvre on Jolyon Palmer, Stoffel – like Fernando – struggled to maintain his place within the pack during the first round of pit-stops, and settled into 16th place until lap 32. At Turn One, Felipe Massa was unsighted as he closed in along the pit straight, and he and Stoffel made contact, the resultant suspension damage to Stoffel’s car forcing him to retire from the race. Stoffel will take a three-place grid penalty in Monaco for the incident.
Despite his strongest grid slot of the year, Fernando lost his seventh position on the opening lap, after being pushed wide by Massa into Turn Two and taking a trip across the gravel. He lost ground and dropped down the order, ending the first lap in 11th place. The Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya being a relatively high speed track, the MCL32 wasn’t able to progress through the field, and Fernando lost positions through the first and second round of pit-stops, after which he spent much of the afternoon in 15th place. A spirited drive and an unplanned final pit stop on lap 51 allowed him to find better pace in the closing stages, and he moved back up to finish his home race in 12th position.
Fernando will tonight fly to Indianapolis for the first practice session tomorrow morning ahead of his Indy 500 debut. Meanwhile, Jenson Button will visit the #mclaren Technology Centre this week to drive the simulator again, before deputising for Fernando in the Monaco Grand Prix in two weeks’ time.
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