Fernando Alonso fails to qualify for Indy 500 with McLaren
Shock failure to qualify for Alonso and McLaren as partnership endures "difficult" week; Indy 500 race takes place this Sunday on Sky Sports F1 after the Monaco GP
By James Galloway
Last Updated: 20/05/19 10:22am
Fernando Alonso has failed to qualify for the Indianapolis 500 in a huge disappointment for the Spaniard and McLaren's full comeback to the event.
Alonso had returned to the famous Brickyard oval this year aiming to complete motorsport's triple crown but, on the back of a torrid week of practice running for McLaren, the 37-year-old found himself in Sunday's six-car Last Row Shootout having failed to earn an automatic starting spot for the race at the first attempt on Saturday.
After rain delays on Sunday afternoon, Alonso posted the fourth-slowest average speed of the six drivers when track action resumed and so failed to qualify for the showpiece race on May 26.
Alonso missed out by an average speed of just 0.019mph over his four laps, but simply conceded "we were not fast enough".
View this post on Instagram
A difficult week, no doubts. We tried our best, even today with a completely different set up and approach, 4 laps flat on the throttle but we were not fast enough. It’s never easy to drive around here at 227mph +, and want more speed... We tried our best and we’ve been brave at times, but there were people doing better job than us. Success or disappointments only come if you accept big challenges. We accepted. Thanks to the massive support always here at the speedway and everyone at home. Now full focus on next target 🙏 #indy500
"Yesterday, we were 31st instead of 30th. Today, 34th instead of 33rd by a very small margin, and unfortunately, we were not fast enough on both days. I'm disappointed now, obviously it would be nice to be in the race next Sunday," added the two-time F1 champion.
McLaren, who built their own car for Alonso's second attempt at the Indy 500, said they were "hugely disappointed" by events and apologised for their failure to qualify.
"This is a very difficult sport. We certainly didn't underestimate it," said sporting director Gil de Ferran, a former Indy 500 race winner.
"We knew this was going to be a tremendously hard challenge. I've been here before. I've seen some incredible people not make the race. So we were certainly very aware of how difficult this was going to be.
"In my 35 years of racing, this is the most painful experience I've ever had but we are racers. We respect this place and it is one of the toughest challenges in racing. This experience will only make us stronger as a team, and we want to come back."
We’re hugely disappointed not to make it through to next Sunday’s 2019 #Indy500. 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, but thank you all so much for your support. #McLaren66 pic.twitter.com/neFFh0L5Xt— McLaren Indy (@McLarenIndy) May 19, 2019
Britain's Max Chilton and new Red Bull junior Patricio O'Ward were also knocked out of the running, with only 33 drivers allowed to start next Sunday's race.
What else happened on Sunday?
Additional reporting from NBC Sports on the Fast Nine Shootout
Simon Pagenaud won the pole position for next Sunday's 103rd Running of the Indianapolis 500, posting a four-lap average speed of 229.992 mph.
The Indianapolis 500 pole is the first for Pagenaud on the 2.5-mile Indianapolis Motor Speedway oval. Pagenaud won the IndyCar Grand Prix on the track's interior road course last weekend.
"It's just amazing," Pagenaud told NBC Sports following his pole run. "Obviously, last week was amazing, but this is even more special. "Team Penske has been phenomenal at giving me the best equipment. I can't thank them enough."
When is the Indy 500 itself?
On a super motorsport Sunday on Sky Sports F1 on May 26, the Indy 500 follows the end of the channel's exclusively live coverage of the Monaco GP.
The Monaco GP starts at 2.10pm, while the Indy 500 is underway at 5.45pm.
Sky Sports F1 is the home of live and exclusive F1 - and new and existing customers in the UK can now get the channel for just £10 extra a month. Find out more here to watch the 2019 season live