Fernando made one of his typically awesome starts and went from eighth on the grid to being right up near the front with Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel.
Unfortunately for the McLaren driver, Max Verstappen’s damaged car ended up spearing into the side of him, launching Alonso into the air and spinning him around.
Despite the fairly hefty contact Fernando continued to run around in the midfield for a bit, but the damage sustained by the clash became too much and he was forced to retire.
A disappointed Fernando felt he’d have been right up at the front were it not for the contact, as his start was so good that he’d have been able to challenge at the front of the field in the wet conditions. Speaking to media during the race he said:
“The car was completely destroyed on the left side, and it was almost a miracle we could continue after that hit. In the end we had to retire which is a shame because we had high hopes for this race. I think we would even be leading now because Hamilton was behind me in turn one, so if Hamilton is leading now it means we would be leading.”
Today was the day. The first podium for the team was a clear target. The car launch like a rocket and We could be running P2 in the first lap but we found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong moment after RAI and VES had their contact. Thanks to the team for the superb effort all weekend and hope for better luck in Sepang. Thanks for the support #mclaren #honda #start #f1 #14 #singapore
He also lamented the fortunes of the team, saying that when he needs luck he doesn’t get it, and when he doesn’t need it he gets bad luck, such as today, when he feels he’d have definitely finished on the podium.
“Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t. When we start last because of penalties or we change the engine, usually 20 cars finish. Now we are good here and with the rain – I think the podium was guaranteed or maybe we would be even fighting for victory – everything happened.”
“It hurts because a podium is always a podium but when we all arrive in the first corner at the start and you are on the outside, if one driver goes wide he hits you. As I said, when starts are so close, things usually happen so we’ll try to find another chance in Malaysia.”
Considering how the track dried out it seems unlikely his McLaren would have had the pace to remain in the top three, but fourth certainly seems like it could have been possible.
Even if he is exaggerating a bit, this is the most genuinely disappointed Fernando has sounded for quite a while. Still, it has been known to rain in Malaysia from time to time – maybe he’ll get another opportunity there.