Fernando Alonso’s debut at the Indianapolis 500 ended abruptly after the failure of engine of his McLaren Honda Andretti IndyCar forced the Spaniard to retire with 21 laps remaining.

Before he was compelled to withdraw, he proved once again why he is one of the best drivers on the planet during Sunday’s event. Alonso was ahead in the field for most of the time and was able to ease past the other cars as he led 27 laps. However, with 21 laps to go, his Honda engine expired inside the first turn.

Alonso began on the fifth position and was trailing at the start of the race. As the race progressed, the Spanish racer started gaining momentum and was able to overtake car after car and by the time lap 37 arrived, he was leading the pack. He managed to stay in the front of the field for most of the time. But then he was betrayed by the Honda engine when it blew up in a puff of smoke. The unreliability was not restricted to the engine of the two-time Formula One Champion’s car either.

His team-mate Ryan Hunter-Reay also had to face similar fate after his engine broke down and so did Honda-powered Charlie Kimball. Indy 500 was a continuation of the mechanical problems of his engines that he has encountered since the beginning of this campaign. He had to depart early in first three races of the season while he was not even able to start the race at the Russian Grand Prix because his car stopped working before the race began.

“I came here basically to prove myself, to challenge myself. I know that I can be as quick as anyone in an F1 car. I didn’t know if I can be as quick as anyone in an IndyCar. It was nice to have this competitive feeling, even leading the Indy 500. One lap you put on the lead there, it was already a nice feeling. I was passing, watching the tower, saw the 29 on top of it. I was thinking at that moment if [McLaren CEO Zak Brown] or someone from the team was taking a picture, because I want that picture at home.” said Alonso, who is on a quest to become only the second driver to achieve the Triple Crown of Motor Sport.

Japan’s Takuma Sato was victorious in the 101st Indy 500 when he came through in the last few laps to finish ahead of the second placed Hello Castroneves in the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway.