Fernando Alonso’s F1 comeback ruined by sandwich wrapper during Bahrain GP

Fernando Alonso's eagerly-awaited F1 return was ruined by a sandwich wrapper at Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Spaniard, 39, is back in the sport with brand new team Alpine, who are making their debut in F1 this term.

Alonso started ninth on the grid on Sunday after a decent qualifying session, while team-mate Esteban Ocon was back in 16th.

But his race was over on lap 32 when brake failure saw him exit the race on his first outing since 2018 – and a post-race investigation found out the problem was caused by a pesky bit of litter.

"After his first stop we had a small issue that forced us to reduce the performance of the car," Alpine executive director Marcin Budkowski explained.

"Then after the second stop, a sandwich wrap paper got stuck inside the rear brake duct of Fernando's car, which led to high temperatures and caused some damage to the brake system, so we retired him for safety reasons.

"It was a very unlucky first race for Fernando considering how strong he looked."

Despite not managing to see the chequered flag, Alonso admits he was happy to be back in the sport following his three-year absence.

"The race was fun until that point," he said.

"The start, the first couple of laps, some battles with my old colleagues I did enjoy, but obviously I'm disappointed not to see the chequered flag.

"I think we still need to improve. It's very close in the midfield, a couple of tenths [of a second] changes a lot of positions.

"We will have to fine-tune things and execute to perfection every race because more mistakes can cost a lot of positions in qualifying and in the race, so it's going to be a very interesting season for you to watch."

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  • The opening race of the season was eventually won by reigning champion Lewis Hamilton, who ended a six-year wait when it came to winning the first event of the campaign.

    The Brit held off Max Verstappen, who actually overtook him in the closing laps, only to be forced to give the position back due to being off the track when going past his rival.

    The Italian Grand Prix is up next for Alonso and his counterparts.

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