Fernando Alonso has lamented losing out on a potential front-running grid position for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, after a suspected technical issue caused him to crash on his first flying lap in Q3.
The Spaniard has been Alpine's star performer throughout the weekend in Melbourne so far, and looked set for a storming lap early in the Q3 session as he went quickest of all in the second sector.
However, going through Turn 11, Alonso appeared to have misjudged the corner as he went off into the gravel and hit the barriers.
With the session red-flagged as he climbed from his stricken car, he radioed in to say that he suspected a hydraulic problem as he had been unable to change down to his desired gear for the corner.
Ending the session in 10th place with no time set in Q3, Alonso explained the incident after the session.
"I don't know," he told Sky Sports F1 when asked about what had happened.
"I think it's something hydraulic, because I couldn't change gear and the steering became very, very heavy, so I guess we lost the power steering and things like that."
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Alonso had proven to be quick enough to give the Red Bulls and Charles Leclerc's Ferrari pause for thought during the earlier qualifying sessions, with the veteran explaining that he felt a top-three qualifying position had gone begging.
"I don't know if we could fight for pole, because that's a big thing but, for sure, top three," he firmly stated.
"I think that lap was enough for [the] top three, and we had two sets of new tyres, because we saved them in Q1 and Q2, so it is so frustrating."
As for whether he might need any new components that could trigger a grid penalty or a pit lane start, just to further compromise his weekend, Alonso said he wasn't concerned by the thought.
"I don't know. Honestly, right now, I don't care," he admitted.
"I was probably doing my best weekend in years, fighting for pole position. So now, whatever it is, we will take it."
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