• Malaysian Grand Prix

Alonso thinks retirement was 'extremely bad luck'

ESPN Staff
March 24, 2013 « Vettel was wrong - Horner | Poor first stint ruled out podium - Massa »
Fernando Alonso crashed out at the end of the first lap having not pitted © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso believes his retirement from the Malaysian Grand Prix was not a result of a Ferrari error but instead "extremely bad luck".

Having got up to second place off the line, Alonso tapped the back of Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull as in turn two and damaged his front wing, which then dropped on one side and collapsed altogether on the run down to turn one on the second lap. With Ferrari able to see the damaged wing the team decided to leave Alonso out on track at the end of the first lap, but Alonso believes it was the right decision and just got unlucky.

"We touched with the front wing the car of Sebastian; it was a very, very small touch but enough to damage the front wing a lot so it's extremely bad luck in my opinion," Alonso said. "Then we were constantly talking on the radio in the first lap, the car felt OK in the first two sectors and from the television the team saw damage on the front wing. But we knew that in lap three of four we would switch to dry tyres so if we could make it to that lap we would save maybe 20 seconds or 30 seconds in the race.

"At that point we said 'at the moment everything looks OK', you don't have the front wing performance that you'd expect but we'd see how the problem would develop and then make a decision. Unfortunately on the back straight the front wing dropped and we started to see some sparks on the floor and some more damage, but at that point we were five seconds before the pit entry and we didn't make it. Then in the next straight the wing fell off and it was underneath the car and it was not possible to turn."

Alonso said ultimately it was just a case of bad luck for Ferrari that such a small collision had big consequences.

"A lot of circumstances went the wrong way. Maybe the decision could be wrong or could be good, it's very easy afterwards to see what is the best thing to do but I think it is an extremely unlucky combination of things that happened today. With so many crashes in Australian qualifying one, we saw people going off on the parade laps to the grid here and nothing happened; we touched one car at 10 kilometres an hour and we didn't have even the luck to lose the front wing, the front wing stayed half on to make us crash after one lap. So this is a fact. The other things can be a wrong decision or a good decision, you never know until you see afterwards, but the unlucky factor is there for sure."

Despite only completing one lap, Alonso felt he would have been able to challenge Red Bull for victory today.

"I think today we had a good car and I don't think we were too far from the Red Bull pace, especially in the race. They didn't have the easiest weekend here in Malaysia ... no-one was especially quick, so I think we could really fight for the win here with the Red Bulls."