Fernando Alonso has said that his first lap crash with Mark Webber compromised the whole of his 60-lap race. The Spaniard had qualified in eighth place on the medium compound tyre but his long first stint was cut by an unscheduled stop for a new front wing.
The Ferrari driver hit Mark Webber’s Red Bull RB9 at the exit of turn one before tagging Jenson Button’s McLaren at turn four. The scruffy first lap ruined his entire race as he had to revert for a three-stop strategy. He could only recover to 11th place by the chequered flag.
Speaking about his difficult day at the office he said: “Today, the problem I had on the first lap compromised my entire race, because we had to immediately change the nose and with one extra stop, without any opportunity to overtake, it was all an uphill struggle. In front of me, Webber touched someone and then me, then at turn 4 I also touched with Button. The steering felt very heavy in right hand turns and the only thing to do was pit. If you look at Webber’s race or Perez’s then I’d say our strategy was good, because when the others began to pit, those two were leading, but it’s also true that it went well for those who started on the Softs.”
The Ferrari driver also congratulated rival Sebastian Vettel, who was crowned 2013 world champion after winning the Indian Grand Prix. He said: “I must congratulate Vettel, because in this, as in other sports, it’s the best that win. I’m a bit sad at not having scored points for the Constructors’ title, but now, if we want to take that second place, we have to do better in the next three races and try to always finish on the podium, at least with one car, if not both.”
Team-mate Felipe Massa had a strong start from fifth on the grid and held second place early on. He thought a podium was possible but he dropped down the order in the final stint. Talking about his fourth place finish, he said: “That was a nice race and I am very happy, because the strategy worked. I managed to always run at a good pace, even with the Soft tyres. Here, I could have fought for the podium, but as the track evolved, some cars, such as Grosjean in the Lotus, managed to make just one stop, which was impossible for us.”
He added: “I lost a position to Rosberg, who came in early for his second stop, but I have to be happy with this day when we made no mistakes. Today, we lost second place in the Constructors’ classification, because Mercedes was very quick and we are well aware, that even if it won’t be easy, there are still three races and we will do our utmost right to the very end.”
Image courtesy of Octane Photographic