Fernando Alonso was left "speechless" after a "killer" safety car added to his Australian Grand Prix weekend woes.
The two-time F1 champion was matching pole-sitter Charles Leclerc through the first two sectors of his qualifying lap at Albert Park before a mechanical failure put him in the barriers.
From 10th on the grid, Alonso opted for an alternate strategy by starting on hard tyres but after showing strong pace in the early stages his plans were torn up by Sebastian Vettel crashing out and triggering a safety car.
Alonso then struggled on medium tyres and was forced into a second stop, leaving the weekend pointless after expecting during qualifying to be challenging Red Bull and Ferrari.
"We were looking for P6 or P7," said Alonso when detailing his race.
"We started on the hard tyre which was good and started 10th, but the safety car was in the wrong moment of the race. That was our killer."
With Alpine supposedly quicker than Mercedes and George Russell clinching a podium, Alonso added: "I am a little bit speechless.
"We could have been on the podium to be honest if we had qualified third and fourth, with Max out and George on the podium - I think we have been a little bit faster than Mercedes this weekend."
Alonso hoping to be "super lucky"
Alonso has now failed to score in his last two races despite showing impressive pace, with the strategic misfortune in Melbourne preceded by a mechanical issue in Saudi Arabia.
Hoping for a turn in fortunes, he added: "We lost an opportunity here, and in Jeddah we had a very good race.
"It seems to be the way it is at the moment, just a little bit unlucky. Twenty races to go, some of them I will be super lucky I guess."