SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium -- Fernando Alonso's Belgian Grand Prix ended in a terrifying crash similar to the incident at the same circuit which cost him the 2012 world championship.
On the short run down to La Source hairpin, Nico Hulkenberg appeared to either have an issue or brake too late, slamming into the back of Alonso's McLaren. That pushed Alonso into Charles Leclerc, with the orange car spectacularly crashing over the Sauber. The violence of the crash ripped much of the engine cover off the side of the McLaren.
Onboard camera showed Alonso's car flying onto and over the cockpit of Leclerc's car, now protected by the Halo device. The crash eliminated all three involved from the race immediately.
The incident looked very similar to one of the most notable of Alonso's career. At the start of the 2012 edition, Romain Grosjean -- then driving for Lotus -- misjudged the braking zone and was pitched into an almost identical crash over the top of Alonso's car. That was in the days before the Halo cockpit protection device and Grosjean's car came inches away from hitting Alonso's head. That incident is usually seen as the one which cost him in that year's fight with Sebastian Vettel, which he narrowly lost at the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
With Alonso announcing his decision to quit Formula One at the end of the season, the incident could well be the last at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit. Although victory was always unlikely in his uncompetitve McLaren, it means -- unless he returns to F1 -- he leaves the sport having never claim a win at what he regularly cites as one of his favourite circuits on the calendar.
The race stewards will investigate the incident after the race.