Fernando Alonso fails to qualify for Indianapolis 500

Fernando Alonso has failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 after a humiliating return to the USA’s biggest race for the McLaren team.

The two-time Formula 1 world champion was fourth fastest of six drivers vying for the final three places on the grid on what is known as ‘Bump Day’.

Alonso’s 227.353mph four-lap average was pipped by American Kyle Kaiser by just 0.019mph with the last run.

It is a bitter blow for Alonso, who left F1 to focus on winning Indy.

“We’re hugely disappointed not to make it through to next Sunday’s 2019 Indy500,” said McLaren in a statement on Twitter.

“It’s been a tough week for the team. We’re sorry that our fans didn’t get the chance to cheer us on at the Brickyard.”

The 37-year-old is making his second appearance at the historic 2.5-mile super speedway.

In 2017, he qualified fifth and led for 27 laps of the race before retiring with an engine failure in the closing laps, while driving a McLaren-branded car for the leading Andretti team.

For his second attempt, McLaren chose to set up their own team from scratch and there will be questions about a number of the decisions that were made along the way.

The project has struggled from the very beginning and a series of problems through practice last week left Alonso badly under-prepared for the the weekend’s qualifying.

Alonso was 31st fastest on Saturday, which meant he just missed out on a guaranteed place on the grid afforded to the fastest 30 drivers.

Overnight, McLaren sought help from the Andretti and Penske teams – two of the three biggest in Indycar – as they sought to improve the difficult handling of their car.

It meant Alonso went into his single four-lap shot blind, and it was not to be.

This article is from the BBC Sport website / bbc.co.uk – Fernando Alonso fails to qualify for Indianapolis 500

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