• Chinese Grand Prix

Alonso not blaming strategy for seventh place finish

ESPNF1 Staff
April 17, 2011 « Heidfeld rues KERS issues | »
Fernando Alonso lost time in his second stint while fighting with Michael Schumacher © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso does not think he would have finished any higher at the Chinese Grand Prix had he adopted the same three-stop strategy as race winner Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso, like Sebastian Vettel in second and Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa one place ahead of him in sixth, opted for a two-stop strategy. The disadvantage was that he lost time on the tyres as their performance degraded, but Alonso reckons a slow start and a nine-lap scrap with Michael Schumacher after his first pit stop were the key factors behind his poor result

"I made a bad start, Felipe managed to get past me and a Force India nearly did the same, then it was a good battle on the opening lap," Alonso said. "After the first pit stop, I lost too much time behind Michael, thus losing touch with the leading group. I found myself fighting him again at the end of the race, with our positions reversed. Once again, it was a good battle, but I would have preferred to have been doing it for a podium finish rather than seventh place. Unfortunately, our race pace was too slow and I don't think that a different strategy would have changed anything.

Alonso vowed to fight back when the season arrives in Europe but also hoping called on Ferrari to improve the car.

"I've had better Sundays in my career, but I won't get downhearted or lose confidence," he added. "We know we have to improve to get to the front: McLaren and Mercedes have managed it and there is no reason to think we can't do the same. Clearly, aerodynamics is our Achilles Heel at the moment and that's what we have to work on the most. Eight days ago in Malaysia we had seen some encouraging signs, but that was not the case here: the car has not changed, while others have made progress."