|© AP Photo
Fernando Alonso retired from the Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday after he crashed out on the start of the second lap when his front wing broke and lodged under the wheels of his Ferrari.
At the start of what was his 200th Grand Prix, the Spaniard jumped to second from third place on the grid but then made contact with the rear of the Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel at Turn 2.
"It was a surprise to find him there, almost stopped and I don’t know what speed he was doing," Alonso reported.
As a result, his front wing came loose and scraped around the circuit as he drove and defended his position in a limping car.
But as the Ferrari driver came round the final corner, Alonso continued to do another lap instead of diving into the pits for a new wing, a risk admittedly taken by the team.
"On the pit wall, the thinking was to leave him out for a lap or two longer to deal with the damage, in order to change the front wing at the same time as the switch to slicks, which was imminent," Ferrari said in a statement.
Team principal Stefano Domenicali said that considering the qualifying results, Sunday’s outcome left “a somewhat bitter taste in the mouth.”
“With hindsight, we can say the risk wasn’t worthwhile,” confessed technical director Pat Fry.
At the start-finish straight, Alonso’s wing dislodged and stuck under the front wheels with the Ferrari refusing to turn as he headed into the gravel at Turn 1, where he remained consigned and consequently retired.
"It’s easy to criticise this decision, but at the time it seemed like the right one," Alonso reasoned referring to the strategy that backfired.