Fernando Alonso admitted that he was crestfallen after being unable to show his and Renault's real potential in qualifying for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix night race this weekend, admitting that 'we haven't been this strong anywhere' in 2008.
In what has been an overwhelmingly frustrating campaign for the former double Formula 1 World Champion, Alonso had looked set to produce one of his spellbinding performances – the kind that saw him storm to a front row grid slot in front of his adoring home supporters in Barcelona back in April – after pacing the field in two of the three free practice sessions around the all-new Marina Bay Street Circuit, in FP3 to the tune of a staggering six tenths of a second.
Having solidly made it through Q1, however, the Spaniard's R28 suddenly crawled to a halt with a fuel feed issue on his opening effort in Q2, consigning him to 15th place on the grid around a track where overtaking opportunities are widely anticipated to be at a premium – and one where some had tipped him to steal pole position from under the noses of the title contenders.
“We haven't been this strong anywhere,” the 27-year-old is quoted as having lamented by F1SA
. “In other races we wouldn't have lost much, but here we have lost the biggest chance we had. The race is lost.”
Alonso has not triumphed in a grand prix for more than a year, and has not ascended the podium on a single occasion this season. To complete Renault's misery – as the Régie
fights tooth-and-nail with rivals Toyota for the highly-coveted fourth position in the final constructors' rankings – rookie Nelsinho Piquet missed the Q1 cut for the sixth time in 15 races in 2008, leaving the young Brazilian alongside his team-mate in 16th spot on the grid.