It was a short-lived Chinese Grand Prix for the McLaren-Honda team at the Shanghai International Circuit. Rain earlier in the day meant that the track was pretty damp for the start, both drivers consequently electing to start on new Intermediate tyres. Both Fernando and Stoffel made good starts – and, although Stoffel’s car was tapped at the rear by another car, no damage was sustained and both he and Fernando escaped any major drama on the first lap.
On lap two, as the circuit was rapidly drying out, the team executed the perfect ‘double shuffle’, pitting Fernando and Stoffel in turn for Prime tyres. Both were then released back into the pack, and both were able to make good progress on slicks, Fernando reaching sixth position by lap seven before settling into seventh place for a number of laps.
Unfortunately, however, the gods of reliability were not on the team’s side, Stoffel falling foul of a fuel problem after losing power, forcing him to retire on lap 18, and Fernando suffering a driveshaft issue causing him to have to stop out on track on lap 34.
The team will now re-group before the second leg of the first pair of back-to-back races of the season: the Bahrain Grand Prix in a few days’ time.