Fernando Alonso enjoyed his first Indy 500, in which he led for a while and was in contention for victory in the closing stages when the Honda engine failed on his car, an experience he is all too familiar with from the last two season of F1.
His Andretti Racing stable mate Takuma Sato, a former F1 driver, went onto win the race in a Honda powered car, while another ex F1 driver Max Chilton finished fourth.
Alonso was competitive throughout his first Indy 500 experience, qualifying fifth and having several stints running at the front. He was well placed on strategy going into the final 30 laps, but his engine blew 21 laps from the end, when he was lying ninth.
“I’m obviously disappointed not to finish the race because every race you compete, you want to be at the chequered flag. Today it was not possible,’ said Alonso.
“It was a great experience, the last two weeks. I came here to prove myself, to challenge myself,
“I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car, I didn’t know if I can be as quick as anyone in an IndyCar.
“It was nice to have this competitive feeling, leading the Indy 500.”
The dangers of Indy were again made clear, as they had been with Sebastien Bourdais’ accident in qualifying, when pole siter Scott Dixon had a huge airborne crash, landing head first into a retaining wall at over 200mph. He walked away.
Alonso has said that Indy remains unfinished business and that he will definitely return one day, but his priority for next season is to get into a competitive F1 car and challenge for the world championship again.
In his absence, Jenson Button and Stoffel Vandoorne had a chance to score points in Monaco, with a competitive showing in qualifying, but both were involved in incidents during the race, Button getting a penalty on his one-off appearance in F1 this year, while engine penalties on Saturday meant he had to start from the back of the grid, making it a frustrating weekend.
McLaren remain pointless, in 10th place in the F1 Constructors’ Championship.
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