Famed Formula One driver Fernando Alonso topped 358 km/h (222.548 mph) in practice laps this past week for his first-ever Indy 500 race, a fact two birds learned firsthand when they got in the way of his McLaren-Honda car as he circled the Brickyard.
Around 10 seconds into this video, we’re treated to a slow-motion shot of Alonso powering down one of the straights that reveals the birds’ final moments as they fly straight at the car, only to go up in a puff of feathers and mist.
While we’re sure these aren’t the first winged creatures to meet their end at the fairing of a racecar, focusing on their deaths draws attention away from the car itself, whose orange paint job was a purposeful nod to that of the one American driver Johnny Rutherford drove in 1976, when he gave McLaren its first Indy 500 win.
The UK’s Guardian newspaper went so far as to praise the car’s clean lines, devoid of the “absurdly elaborate” aero kit that adorns modern F1 cars.
It was a fleeting-but-memorable moment from a practice session Alonso said was “fun,” according to the BBC, while former Indy champ Mario Andretti said he thinks Alonso’s “chances are real of winning this thing.”
If, by some chance, Alonso were to win at Indy his first time out, he would join other F1 drivers who made the move to the iconic American venue and won races there, including Emerson Fittipaldi.
We’ll get to see how it goes for him on May 28, when the 101st edition of the Indy 500 goes, following weeks of practice, qualifying and various special events.
(via NBC Sports/Youtube)