Alonso's F1 comeback race ended by sandwich wrap in brake ducts

Fernando Alonso's return race to Formula One was ended prematurely by a sandwich wrap getting stuck in the brake ducts of his Alpine car.

Alonso's appearance at the Bahrain Grand Prix was his first appearance since 2018, driving for the rebranded Renault team. In the closing stages of the race he was called into the pits to retire the car after complaining over overheating rear brakes.

The team later explained the bizarre reason behind that race retirement.

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

Alonso had qualified in the top ten and had looked in a strong position to challenge for a points finish. The two-time world champion said he enjoyed the thrill of being back and admitted feeling emotional being back at the wheel.

"It was a shame that we could not see the chequered flag today because I really enjoyed the whole thing. It was nice to be back racing. It was nice to feel again the adrenaline at the starting grid, the national anthem, all these procedures were very emotional today for me.

He added: "I was not at my 100 percent, I'm sure of that.

"It was nice, we had a couple of good battles as well, some of them were happy ending, some of them were not because we were overtaken. But I need to find more pace from myself, I need to find more confidence, I need to extract more from the car, from the brakes, execute the start better."