Formula 1 fans were treated to a great, down-to-the-wire race in Bahrain this weekend. But for Spain’s most successful F1 driver, it ended all too early.
Fernando Alonso, celebrating his return to the sport after a two year hiatus, had to retire following a mechanical issue that was caused by a very unlikely source.
“After the second stop, a sandwich wrap paper got stuck inside the rear brake duct of Fernando’s car,” Marcin Budkowski, Alpine’s executive director, told Motorsport. “This led to high temperatures and caused some damage to the brake system, so we retired him for safety reasons. It was a very unlucky first race for Fernando considering how strong he looked.”
Indeed, after a strong qualifying performance in which the two-time world champion finished ninth, seven places ahead of his teammate, Esteban Ocon, the early end to Alonso’s race was a disappointment. With better luck, Alonso might have earned some points in his first race back to the series. But he was positive about his return to the sport.
“Firstly, it was great to be back racing in Formula 1,” said the Spaniard. “The start was fun, we gained some places and I had some enjoyable battles with old colleagues. However, it was disappointing to not see the chequered flag in the end.”
Ocon, meanwhile, ended up in 13th, failing to earn any points. His race, though, was hurt after he was crashed into by Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel.
Alonso will look to score his first points of the season at the second race in Italy at the legendary Imola Circuit on April 18.