Fernando Alonso has admitted that his second place finish around Singapore’s Marina Bay feels as satisfying as a race win, following what had been a troublesome weekend for the Spaniard.
The Ferrari ace faced an uphill battle come raceday after lining-up only seventh on the grid, a place behind his departing team-mate Felipe Massa, for Sunday’s Singapore Grand Prix.
However, the 32-year made one of his characteristically strong starts, which saw him move into third behind Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, later moving into second following a gamble on strategy during the shuffle of the order caused by the deployment of the safety car and the pitstops.
“Today’s second place is like a victory for us, at the end of a difficult weekend on a track where it’s very tricky to overtake”, he said.
The Spaniard added that he had struggled to nurse his tyres to the end, having stopped behind the safety car, but that the podium finish vindicated the risk taken by his Ferrari team.
“The key points of this race were the start and the strategy and, in both cases, the decisions taken proved to be the right ones, even if they were aggressive choices.
“At the start, I managed to pass four cars, helped by having watched the starts from previous races here, but then I couldn’t pass Rosberg”, said the double world champion. “The decision to pit when the safety car came out paid off, even if it wasn’t easy to get to the finish with the tyres on the limit. Fortunately, thanks to the advantage I had over Raikkonen and Webber, we were able to manage the situation over the final laps: if I’d been in a group, it would have been like the end of a horror movie!”
Despite an impressive turnaround come raceday for Ferrari, Alonso remains realistic on his now slim championship chances, having lost more ground to his title rival and the winner of the Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel.
“The gap to the championship leaders has increased and apart from congratulating them, because they deserve to be where they are, we must be realistic, because to win the title now, we would need a lot of luck. Sure, we cannot think of giving up right now because if that luck does show up, then we will be there to take it.”
Felipe Massa in the sister Ferrari F138 found his own race hampered by the lack of overtaking opportunities around the Marina Bay circuit, finding himself stuck behind slower cars for large periods of the race, which ultimately meant that he came home in sixth, a fourth consecutive points finish for the Brazilian.
“Given everything that happened in today’s race, sixth place is a really good result”, said the 11 times race winner. “After a fantastic start, at the first corner I found myself stuck inside the cars that had braked early and, at that point I lost places instead of making up some. From then on, I was always stuck behind other cars and we all know how hard it is to overtake at this track.”
Reflecting on what might be his final appearance at the Singapore Grand Prix, the 32-year-old claimed that he was simply pleased to have brought home some points for the team.
“It was tough from start to finish and I am very happy to have brought home a good points haul.”
Ferrari’s Technical Director, Stefano Domenicali, was similarly pleased with the result, claiming that he could not have expected anything more from his pair of drivers, while insisting that despite the fight for the drivers’ championship looking “difficult”, the Scuderia would continue to push until the outcome was mathematically settled.
Image courtesy of Scuderia Ferrari