Twice World Champions Fernando Alonso walked away unharmed from a horrifying crash that disintegrated his McLaren car in a incident-full Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Sunday.
The 34-year old Spaniard, who was competing in his 253rd F1 race was visibly shaken but remarkably escaped unhurt after his car rolled and slammed into a barrier after clipping the Haas car of Mexican Esteban Gutierrez on lap 17 of the 57-lap season opener.
Alonso’s McLaren initially veered into the wall on turn three before pitching into a series of violent rolls before it flew through the gravel trap and slammed into another barrier disintegrating upon impact.
The Spaniard, who has won the F1 World Title with Renault in 2005-06, quickly clambered out of the barely recognisable wreckage and walked away unaided. Fans who were horrified after the crash heaved a sigh of relief when their favourite emerged from the mangle remains of what was once a high speed supercar.
“I feel good. It was a combination of factors and it ended up in a crash.” Alonso said. “But we are lucky both of us are okay. For the safety of those cars and the safety wall is why I am alive. I think it was a racing thing and sometime we forget we are going at 300 KMPH.”
The race was stopped and cars returned to the pit lane by the safety car as the considerable amount of debris was cleared from the track. Gutierrez rushed to check on Alonso after his Haas car came to rest in the same gravel track.
“Thankfully we are all ok. It was a very, very scary moment. The first thing I saw in the mirror I was really worried. I jumped out as quickly as I could and ran to him. It was a big relief he was ok. ”
“We didn’t speak much. It was a real moment of shock for both of us. I just went to him to see everything was fine with him”.
Gutierrez also said that he was aware Alonso’s car was behind him on the track. “I braked into turn 3 and everything came by surprise at the rear. I need to see the video to understand what happened.”
McLaren-Honda boss Ron Dennis said “You never pre-judge anything after an accident like that. The cars are incredibly safe. It’s a testimony to the safety the sport follows.”