Alonso’s front wing was damaged in the opening turns by a minor collision with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel, but instead of pitting for repairs he ploughed on — with the wing collapsing shortly afterwards and jamming under his front wheels.
The result left the Spaniard trailing eventual winner Vettel by 22 points in the early championship race as he bids for his long-awaited third world championship, after victories in 2005 and 2006 following his debut in 2001.
“That’s extremely bad luck in that incident,” he said.
“A lot of circumstances went in the wrong way… today we had a good car, and I don’t think we were too far from the Red Bull pace, especially in the race.
“Looking now after the incident for sure it is the wrong decision (to stay on the track)… if this unlucky combination had not happened, and in lap three we stop, we change the tyre and the nose and we win the race here, the team are heroes.”