For the second time this season, Spanish hearts were scuttled by the sight of home hero Fernando Alonso dropping out of the fray.
Valencians turned up in their droves to see their man conjure up something special for the first ever grand prix at Spain’s cultural capital.
But just as in Barcelona earlier in the year when the double world champion was forced into retirement by an engine failure, so again it was nothing but disappointed for the man from Oviedo.
The Spaniard was punted into retirement by Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima no sooner had he started the race. The Japanese driver ran into the back of the Renault at Turn 3 on the opening lap as Alonso backed off to avoid collision with the jostling pack ahead of him.
The incident left the stricken Renault beyond repair and Alonso was forced to make an early appearance in front of the cameras.
“After qualifying yesterday, I knew that me weekend was going to be difficult,” he said. “At the start I was touched by Nakajima and I lost my rear wing.”
“My mechanics did everything to try and allow me to continue, but my race was already compromised.”
“I am extremely disappointed because I was hoping to have a special race in my second home Grand Prix and for the supporters who came here this weekend to support me. I now want to concentrate on the rest to the season and the next race in Spa.”
Renault team boss Flavio Briatore admitted that the team had already begun to look to Spa in a fortnight’s time.
“It’s a weekend to forget. Our objective remains to fight for fourth place in the championship and we must now stay focussed for the races to come and continue with our efforts to grow stronger.”
“It’s very disappointing to leave this wonderful new track with no points,” concurred Pat Symonds. “We are particularly sorry not to have had a better race with Fernando for his second home Grand Prix, but we must now move forward and think of the next race.”