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Fernando Alonso was unable to prevent his Alpine car from sliding into the barriers to bring out the red flags during the final part of Saturday’s qualifying session at the Australian Grand Prix. The veteran Spaniard was in the process of putting together a near-perfect lap in Q3 before he lost control in the final sector and smashed into the wall at Turn 13 to put an end to his running on the streets of Melbourne.
Alonso and his team-mate Esteban Ocon both managed to make it into Q3 but the former was ultimately prevented from setting a lap time after his unfortunately-timed accident ruled him out of the rest of the session. The left side of his car appeared to stray onto the grass as he approached the apex of Turn 13, forcing him into a spin which he failed to correct in time to avoid crashing into the barriers on the edge of the track.
The two-time Drivers’ Championship winner was unhurt and quickly jumped out of the cockpit before his Alpine car was lifted away by a recovery vehicle. Alonso, who has only picked up two points since the beginning of the new season, told his race engineer via team radio: “I locked the hydraulics and I couldn’t change gear.”
Alonso’s incident marked the second red flag of Saturday’s qualifying session after Lance Stroll and Nicholas Latifi had collided due to a misunderstanding in Q1. The Williams driver clipped his Aston Martin rival as he attempted to overtake on his cool-down lap before spinning out of control and ending up in the wall just before Turn Three.
Meanwhile, Alonso will be hoping to make amends for his crash in Q3 with an improved showing over the course of Sunday’s race as he looks to follow up from his retirement in last month’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix with a points-paying finish. He was forced to install a third power unit ahead of this weekend’s event after struggling with performance and reliability issues in the first two races of the new season.
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