Fernando Alonso may have won the respect of many by pushing his car back to the pit lane during qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, but his efforts were all in vain as McLaren suffered a Saturday to forget.
After seeing teammate Jenson Button be eliminated in Q1, Alonso’s car came to a halt at pit entry in Q2 with seven minutes remaining in the session.
A red flag was issued due to the stoppage, but in a bid to get his car back to the garage, Alonso began to push the McLaren towards the pit lane.
With the help of the marshals, the car was recovered, but Alonso was unable to head back out due to the problem that had emerged on the MP4-30 car.
However, had the McLaren been drivable, Alonso would still have been forbidden from going back out due to a rule in the Formula 1 sporting regulations that require the car to return to the garage under its own power.
“This afternoon was a pity, because it’s been a good weekend for the team so far,” Alonso said. “We’d made some useful performance steps, and had regularly been in the top 10 in the sessions, so the problems we had in qualifying were extremely unfortunate.
“Jenson had a problem in Q1, and then my car just switched itself off in Q2. Unfortunately, we’re not allowed to continue in qualifying if the car doesn’t make it back to the pits under its own power, so that was that.
“Qualifying wasn’t the right time to have these problems, but hopefully we can learn from them for the future.”
McLaren racing director Eric Boullier confirmed that Alonso’s stoppage had been caused by an electrical problem on his car.
“Today, in Q2, Fernando suffered an electrical shutdown triggered by a loose harness connection, shortly after Jenson’s fastest Q1 lap had been stymied by a steering switch software data issue,” Boullier said.
“Nonetheless, tomorrow is another day – and, despite the fact that the Hungaroring is a notoriously inexpedient circuit on which to overtake, both Fernando and Jenson will be doing their level best to do just that, and thereby move forward through the field.”
The Hungarian Grand Prix is live on CNBC and Live Extra from 7:30am ET on Sunday.