‘Back to reality’: Extraordinary footage captures Fernando Alonso watching Max Verstappen’s incredible qualifying lap in real time as the Spaniard is interviewed live on TV… before the title contender dramatically crashes
- Max Verstappen needed to beat Lewis Hamilton’s time to be on pole in Jeddah
- Fernando Alonso kept one eye on the Dutchman’s lap as he was interviewed
- The 24-year-old was driving terrifically – before a final-corner error cost him
- Alonso looked taken aback as the Red Bull pit crew failed to hide their shock
- Verstappen admitted that the setback was ‘terrible’ as he starts the race third
- Hamilton is now looking to close an eight-point gap to his young title rival
Fernando Alonso’s entertaining reactions to Max Verstappen’s dramatic and ultimately disastrous qualifying lap in Saudi Arabia have been captured on video.
Needing to beat Lewis Hamilton’s time to start Sunday’s race on pole, the Dutchman – who leads the seven-time world champion by eight points in the drivers’ standings – got off to a superb start.
A wide-eyed Alonso exclaims ‘that was close!’ on TV as Verstappen drove close to the wall early on in his fierce pursuit in top spot.
A dejected Max Verstappen can’t believe his luck following his final-corner crash in Jeddah
The 24-year-old (pictured) looked set to take pole – before sliding wide and hitting the wall
Fernando Alonso’s entertaining reactions to the lap were captured on TV as he did an interview
Alonso is then asked whether he wants do an interview live on air, replying: ‘I’m ready!’
The 40-year-old, who currently drives for Alpine, keeps ‘one eye’ on Verstappen’s lap while reflecting on his own 13th-placed finish, chuckling: ‘It was good, man, it was good. I’m happy with the lap. The car felt good…’
At this point however, the interview broke off as all Verstappen’s good work suddenly unravelled, with the Red Bull driver sliding wide on the exit of the final corner and hitting the wall, breaking his rear suspension.
Alonso looked shocked and the Red Bull pit crew were aghast following another huge moment in this captivating title tussle, before the Spaniard composed himself, shrugged and said: ‘OK, back to reality.’
Hamilton’s team-mate Valtteri Bottas also outdid Verstappen’s best time to leave the 24-year-old third on the grid heading into Sunday’s race.
After the huge setback, Verstappen admitted: ‘It was terrible but it was, in general, a good qualifying.
‘It was a bit hard to switch on the tyres around the street circuit, but I knew the pace was there and it showed.
Verstappen’s crash gives Lewis Hamilton a significant advantage heading into Sunday’s race
The seven-time world champion sits eight points behind the Dutchman with just two races left
‘I don’t really understand what happened, but I locked up and I still tried to of course keep the car on the track, tried to finish the lap, but clipped the rear and had to stop.
‘P3 is a bit disappointing, knowing what lap I was on, but nevertheless it shows that the car is quick and let’s see what we can do in the race.’
Follow coverage of the penultimate race with Sportsmail’s live blog from 4.30pm on Sunday, with the race starting at 5.30pm.
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