Alonso ended up pointing the wrong way coming out of the first corner, taking damage and causing a virtual safety car as the marshals scurried onto the track to pick up pieces of Aston Martin.
At the front, Max Verstappen got through ahead of Charles Leclerc in controversial fashion, pushing the Monegasque off the track as the Ferrari driver cried out for justice from the stewards on the team radio.
Hamilton avoided picking up any damage in the first lap incident, just getting a light tap coming into turn one – in contrast to Alonso and Sergio Perez, who each needed to come into the pits to have their cars repaired.
The cold temperatures for the desert night race saw the drivers facing an effective ice rink at the first turn, with Alonso and Sainz in particular getting little to no grip as George Russell complained that the conditions made it 'like driving in the wet'.
The McLarens of Oscar Piastri and Lando Norris avoided the worst of the chaos, gaining a number of places as they picked their way through the pack – although that didn't help the latter much, as he binned the car a couple of laps later.
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