SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso, who fractured his ribs in an accident in last month’s season-opener in Australia, admitted to feeling “a little bit of pain” on his return to track action on the opening day of practice for Sunday’s Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso, who sat out the last race in Bahrain on doctors’ orders, was cleared to drive in Friday’s opening session following a medical test at the Shanghai circuit on Thursday.
He was subsequently cleared to participate for the rest of the weekend after another round of tests following that session.
“I felt good,” Alonso told reporters of his first day back.
“A little bit of pain, no surprises there, the rib is still a little bit fractured so that’s normal.
“But this is manageable, the pain,” he said
Alonso’s accident in the March 20 season-opener in Melbourne, in which his McLaren barrel-rolled through the air before coming to rest upside down against a barrier in a mangled heap, left him with fractured ribs and the risk of a collapsed lung.
The Spaniard, twice a winner in China and one of only two drivers to have finished every Chinese Grand Prix since the race appeared on the calendar, had told reporters on Thursday that he had resumed his normal training routine and felt 100 percent physically ready to race.
But the violent forces a driver is subject to in a Formula One had made him feel his injuries.
“It’s a Formula One car, so it’s quite stiff,” the double world champion said.
“Every bump you feel it, every kerb you feel it and that’s quite a worse thing but I’m happy and I’m ready to race.”
Despite the pain, Alonso ended the day eleventh fastest, a tenth of a second quicker than team-mate Jenson Button, with a total of 42 laps on the board.
He is not required to undergo any further medical tests but has been informed by the governing International Automobile Federation’s (FIA) doctors to stop driving immediately should he experience any abnormal symptoms.
Editing by Patrick Johnston and Toby Chopra