Alonso just happy to still be standing

© XPB 

Fernando Alonso's return to the Australian Grand Prix ended up with the Spaniard upside down although unscathed following a huge collision with Esteban Gutierrez's Haas.

The Mexican driver was barreling down to Turn 3 with Alonso hot on his heels, but appeared to slightly drift left into the braking-zone path of the McLaren which hit the Haas rear left, catapulting Alonso into the wall before his car dug into the gravel  trap and barrel-rolled.

The first camera view provided an image of a McLaren which appeared reduced to an old scrap of carbon-fiber but fortunately its driver had walked away.

"It was a scary moment and a scary crash, and I'm lucky and thankful to be here" Alonso admitted.

"I know it looked spectacular from the outside, but from the inside it wasn't the same. You don't know where you are, you're just flying, you see the sky and then the ground, the sky the ground...

"When it stopped, I saw a little space to go out of the car, and went out quickly so to make sure that everyone wasn't too worried about me.

"Honestly, we have good safety in Formula 1 now and we need to say some good things to the FIA and the work they've done in the last couple of years."

Alonso was hard pressed to explain exactly what happened before the heavy contact with Gutierrez.

"It's hard to say, I tried to take the slipstream as much as I could. At the last moment I tried to go to the outside and maybe it was a little too late for me, because you miss the braking point, and maybe he didn't respect that move as well, there many things that could be the reason.

"We are both okay, and that's the most important."

Unfortunately, the massive crash also resulted in some undesired consequences.

"In the end, we lost the opportunity of points, of starting the championship okay, and we probably lost the power unit and the whole car because of the damage. But as I said, I'm happy to be here talking with you guys!"

AS IT HAPPENED: 2016 Australian Grand Prix 

2016 F1 season: Team-by-team preview