• Spanish Grand Prix

'Very stressful' race for Alonso

ESPNF1 Staff
May 22, 2011 « Rosberg bemoans DRS failure | »
Fernando Alonso led the early stages of the race in front of his home crowd © Getty Images

Fernando Alonso said his race was "very stressful" as he led the Spanish Grand Prix before eventually finishing a lap down in fifth.

Alonso made an excellent start from fourth on the grid to pass Mark Webber down the inside in to turn one and take the lead. From there he held up Sebastian Vettel, Webber and Lewis Hamilton for the opening two stints of the race, until finally falling away after the third stop. Alonso said that despite running at the front it was definitely a false position.

"The best bit of the race was obviously the start," Alonso said. "We have worked so much on this area and you could see the outcome. It was fantastic to see the crowd cheering in the grandstands! I tried to do the maximum, keeping the quickest ones behind me for around twenty laps, but after that, there was nothing I could do."

Alonso said that finishing a lap down was not a true reflection of Ferrari's pace, but a result of running for so long on the much slower hard tyre.

"It was very stressful having them [Vettel, Webber and Hamilton] filling my mirrors all the time and we tried as much as possible to copy or anticipate their moves. That meant doing over the half the race on the hards, which penalised us heavily and made the gap bigger than it is in reality. We lack aerodynamic downforce: here we did not have a wing that suited this track. We must analyse carefully the behaviour of all the modifications we brought to this Grand Prix and understand why, in the space of two weeks, we have lost ground to Red Bull and McLaren."

Alonso also said he was not willing to write off his title chances despite being 67 points behind championship leader Vettel.

"Now we head off to Monaco immediately for what is a special race on the calendar. Anything could happen there. Sure, we know the amount of downforce required at this track is the highest of the year, but that was also the case last year and we were competitive. I am definitely not thinking of giving up on the championship after just five races: the gap in the classification is very big, but everything can still happen, I'm sure of it."