Fernando Alonso has conceded that his Chinese Grand Prix was over the minute the safety car peeled off into the pitlane on lap 8.
With rain throughout the morning getting progressively heavier as the race start loomed, officials had little choice but to start the grand prix behind the safety car.
Alonso, who fuelled the lightest in qualifying to take second place, used the opportunity to pit for fresh rubber and to fuel longer into the race, but he was left in limbo at the back of the field when the safety car was pulled in on the same lap.
The Renault driver clawed his way back to ninth place but admits he was disappointed with the result given his strong performance in qualifying – aided by a new diffuser.
“It’s a disappointing end to a weekend where we showed a lot of potential,” he said. “The team have done a great job to improve the car, which was very competitive, especially yesterday when we qualified on the front row.”
“However, today we were unlucky and I think it’s one of those days when you take decisions at the wrong moment and everything seems to turn against you.”
“We thought that the safety car would be out for the next 10 or 15 laps so we came in to get fuel and at the same time the safety car came in so we found ourselves starting the race last.”
“We were on the first row on the grid and all of a sudden we were last so this was the end of our race. Bahrain will be another big test and then we have Barcelona so we need to keep improving.”
Pat Symonds, Renault’s director of engineering added: “We didn’t make best use of what was available to us today.”