Fernando Alonso labeled the Malaysian Grand Prix as the hardest race of his life after having to cope with gearbox issues before retiring.
The Ferrari driver lost his clutch before the start of the race and was forced to step on the throttle on corners in order for the gears to engage. Despite that, Alonso battled with teammate Felipe Massa and McLaren's Jenson Button, before an engine failure forced him out with two laps to go.
The Spaniard looked set for ninth position, which would have helped him keep the championship lead. As it was, however, Alonso is now tied in second place, two points behind Massa.
"From the start things went wrong," Alonso told Spanish television. "On the formation lap my gearbox broke and I had no clutch during the race, so I had to brake in a weird way. I had to first gear down and then push the throttle hard so it would engage the gear for that corner.
So it was probably the hardest race of my whole life in terms of driving, because I had to improvise for every corner. But even so we were going to get a few points, which in the end was not possible because of the engine. "But if the gearbox and then the engine are going to break, it's better than in happens when you are ninth than when you are leading and you lose 25 points."
He added: "A tough weekend. Sometimes it's us, sometimes it's other. You have to take the opportunities."