Alonso 'lucky' to be alive after huge crash

Sun Mar 20, 2016 4:57am EDT
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By Ian Ransom

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso felt lucky to be alive after walking away from a spectacular crash that left his obliterated McLaren scattered across the Albert Park circuit and brought a halt to the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.

Alonso's right wheel clipped Esteban Gutierrez's Haas at high speed going into turn three of the 18th lap and the impact sent the Spaniard's McLaren careening into a barrier, smashing it to pieces, before it flipped, rolled and flew end-over-end into another barrier.

The two-time Formula One world champion emerged from the wreckage and walked gingerly over to Mexican Gutierrez, where the pair embraced.

"I'm okay, I'm trying to put everything in place again," the 34-year-old told Sky Sports in the paddock after Nico Rosberg won the race for Mercedes.

"It was a scary crash. Lucky to be here and happy to be here, and thankful to be here -- especially to the (governing body) FIA and all the safety, thanks to that probably I'm alive.

"We lost the power unit and the car because there was a lot of damage, but I'm super happy to be talking."

Race control said Alonso's contact with Gutierrez would be investigated but the Spaniard said neither driver was to blame.

"We were racing, I kept in the slip-stream as late as I could and at the last moment I tried to move.   Continued...

Formula One -  Australia Grand Prix - Melbourne, Australia - 20/03/16 - The car of McLaren F1 driver Fernando Alonso is retrieved following a crash with Haas F1 driver Esteban Gutierrez at the Australian Formula One Grand Prix in Melbourne.   REUTERS/Stringer