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F1 2016 : Stoffel Vandoorne replaces Fernando Alonso for the Bahrain Grand Prix

Team OD  | Updated: April 01, 2016, 07:22 PM IST

The Mclaren-Honda F1 team's reserve driver, Stoffel Vandoorne has just made his Formula 1 debut at this weekend's race in Bahrain, completing the Friday Free Practice session at Sakhir 18th. The Belgian driver has stepped in for Fernando Alonso, who failed to clear medical evaluations following his horrific crash at the season opener in Australia. The Spanish World Champion suffered fractured ribs after his car somersaulted into the gravel trap on colliding with Esteban Gutierrez's Haas F1.

Vandoorne may have pretty large shoes to fill but Mclaren-Honda are confident of the 2015 GP2 champ. He took the crown last year after winning seven races securing 15 podiums. Also confident of Vandoorne's abilities is former McLaren driver and 2015 reserve driver, Kevin Magnussen who is racing for Renault this season. Magnussen feels that Vandoorne can match his team-mate Jenson Button, who he was nine-tenths behind in FP1 and believes, McLaren's advanced simulator will help Vandoorne settle in quickly.

Stoffel Vandoorne in the garage.

Fernando Alonso, meanwhile, has chosen to stay with the team for the weekend and help Vandoorne understand the car. As of now, it's unclear if Alonso will recuperate in time for the Round Three in China.

After the first round, Nico Rosberg leads the Formula One Drivers Championship with 25 points. His Mercedes team mate and 2015 World Champion Lewis Hamilton is second with 18 points. Ferrari's Sebastian Vettel is third with 15 points. Mercedes is in the lead for the Constructors Title with 43 points.


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