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:
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.
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.