Fernando Alonso has put his passing move on team-mate Felipe Massa, while entering the pits, down as a racing incident and stated that it will not compromise the pair’s relationship.
Alonso was also clearly disappointed with himself for his jump start – which forced the Spaniard to battle his way through the field for the second time in four races.
The double world champion eventually moved up to fourth, but could not pass the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.
Felipe Massa, who attributed the incident with Alonso down to hitting a puddle at turn fourteen, managed to finish ninth after struggling throughout the race.
Fernando Alonso – 4th: “In a race like this, anything can happen. We did five pit stops to change tyres, which is definitely unusual: all in all, I think we took the right decisions at the right time. In a race like this you only understand at the end what would have been the best thing to do, as neither on the pit wall nor in the car do we have a crystal ball! I made a serious mistake at the start as my reflexes let me down and I left early. It’s never happened to me before and I am very disappointed with myself. Luckily, despite the penalty, I managed to finish fourth. The passing move on Felipe? If he was not my team-mate, there wouldn’t be so much talk about it and for me it was a normal move and it definitely won’t compromise our relationship. We have a great potential and we must hope we get some normal races like the one in Bahrain. The start of the championship has gone well: we have shown we are competitive on all the tracks and we have what it takes to win the title. Clearly, we have to up our points tally and improve our qualifying performance. McLaren deserve the top spot, because even though they might not have the best car they have got the most out of it every time.”
Felipe Massa – 9th: “This was a very complicated race and clearly I can’t be happy with the result. Of course, two points are better than nothing, but in the upcoming races we have to do better and that means working on the development of the car. Right from the start, it was difficult to make the right choice in terms of what tyres to use because of the changeable weather. As for the passing move Fernando made, I ended up on a puddle of water coming out of the hairpin and slightly lost control of the car: he managed to get inside me, passing me going into the pit lane. I lost some places because of it, as I had to wait for his stop to be finished. In the closing laps, I was struggling a lot with the tyres, but Michael was suffering worse than me and I managed to pass him. We have seen how the situation can change radically from one race to the next: we need to work as hard as possible to try and get the most out of the potential at our disposal.”
Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, I want to compliment the pit stop crew, who did an amazing job today, handling three double stops without making the slightest mistake and also helping the drivers to make up places. As for the strategy choices, especially for the first stop, it’s clear from the top four finishers that two drivers made one choice and the other two a different one, which means it is difficult to give an instant assessment of which was the right one. With hindsight, Button’s paid off better, but it can also be said that, but for his penalty for a jumped start, Fernando could definitely have fought for the victory. As for the passing move involving Felipe and Fernando, we only saw it afterwards on the television replay and I think it was just a racing incident and there is absolutely no problem between the two drivers: when you are always racing to win, you can have moments like this. There’s a slight feeling of regret after these first four rounds of the championship. We have definitely ended up with less than we were capable of, sometimes because of incidents beyond our control and sometimes because of things that were down to us. Having said that, we are still fully in the fight for both titles and that is already very important. Now we must continue to push on the development of the car and its performance, especially in qualifying. Starting in Barcelona, we must get back on the podium and that is completely possible.”
Chris Dyer: “An extremely difficult race, affected by the changing weather and, in Fernando’s case, by the incident at the start. After the start of the race, we opted to go for the intermediates, but the track did not stay wet enough for long and so we had to go back to slicks. Then, when the rain came, we went back to wets and both cars proved to be very competitive and the drivers did the best job possible of managing the tyres, better than many of the others, thus managing to gain some places. After the penalty, Fernando drove a great race, just as the pit stop guys did an exceptional job and very well done to them for that.”