Fernando Alonso started the Bahrain Grand Prix from P15, finding himself the sole McLaren on the grid following his team-mate Stoffel Vandoorne's withdrawal before the start. He fought valiantly despite facing an uphill struggle, but retired with two laps to go.
The Spaniard was able to keep his position on the first lap as he fought to fend off Kevin Magnussen's Haas, whilst simultaneously chasing Lance Stroll in the Williams. He made his first stop during the Safety Car period that followed a collision between Stroll and Carlos Sainz, and by the restart he was in twelfth, soon passing Marcus Ericsson for eleventh.
Alonso battled closely with several cars during the race, despite complaining of a lack of power, and was at one point nearing P10 as he tussled with Pascal Wehrlein later in the evening.
Eventually, on lap 55 of 57, just as Daniil Kvyat was within DRS range behind him, Alonso slowed dramatically and, reporting a serious engine problem, returned to the garage to retire the car. He was classified 14th, as he had completed over 90% of the race distance, but this will have been little consolation as he had previously exclaimed over the radio that he had never raced with less power.
"It was a frustrating race. The deficit in power and performance we had on the straights was amazing. Sometimes I looked in the mirrors at the beginning of straights and saw the other cars 300, 400 metres behind, so I forgot completely about that car and started changing settings on the steering wheel and doing my own things, then the next thing I see when I come on the brakes is that car alongside me.
"We were running close to the points but that's not enough. We never had the pace we had in Australia and China and, in the end, we had a problem and we decided to retire the car. It's frustrating. When the red lights go off you are motivated and you start fighting, but you're so behind on the straights that there is no way you can defend your position. You fight in a fair way with everyone, but you don't enjoy the battle."
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing