The first race after Fernando Alonso announced that he would not be racing in Formula 1 in 2019 lasted only a few hundred metres for him, with the Spaniard the first innocent victim of an out of control Nico Hülkenberg at La Source.
The McLaren F1 Team racer was hit from behind by the Renault Sport Formula One Team racer, with Alonso’s car being pushed over the top of Charles Leclerc’s Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 Team car as a result, with all three cars out of the race on the spot.
Alonso’s car also struck the rear of Daniel Ricciardo’s car as it flew through the air, breaking the Aston Martin Red Bull Racing driver’s rear wing and costing him the chance of scoring any points in Belgium as well as he fell two laps down while repairs took place in the pit lane.
The veteran Spaniard felt Hülkenberg ‘played bowling’ with those in front of him after wildly missing his braking point heading into turn one, but once he had locked up, the crash was always going to be inevitable.
“I’m disappointed. We made a good start,” said Alonso. “There were a couple of possibilities of overtaking in Turn One – you play it cautious, you brake at the same point, then you look in the mirrors and see the guys behind you behaving as if this was the last corner of the championship.
“I saw Nico in the mirrors coming with all four wheels locked, at a very high speed. He completely missed the braking point by a long way, not just a couple of metres. There was no way I could avoid that, then I felt the impact and flew over Charles’ car. Nico played bowling a little bit with us today.”
Alonso said if there was ever proof that the Halo is needed in Formula 1 it was in this incident, with his car flying over Leclerc’s and leaving a big tyre mark on the head protection device.
“It’s sad to see this happening, because usually these kinds of accidents have major consequences, but on the positive side, everyone involved is fine, especially Charles, as I flew over his car,” said Alonso.
“Not that we needed any proof, but the halo showed again today it is a very good thing to have on the car. Now I feel okay, but we need to wait a couple of hours to see how things develop when it cools down.”