Alonso made his first stop at the Circuit de Catalunya without any major issues, emerging from the pit lane ahead of Sebastian Vettel. However, it transpired that the two-time world champion had in fact suffered a small puncture on his in-lap, jeopardising his chances of taking the win. Luckily for Ferrari, it was not too much of a problem, and Alonso was able to return to the pits without any major problems.
Ferrari had initially planned to go one lap longer with Alonso, but the decision to pit appeared to be an inspired one as Pirelli’s F1 chief, Paul Hembery, predicts that this extra lap would have ruined the tyre.
Hembery also said that had Alonso been using the 2012 specification compounds, he would have suffered a far bigger failure. This came in the face of criticism over the 2013 tyres, and although this incident has a roundabout way of showing an advantage of the new tyres, another failure is the last thing Pirelli would have wanted.
Jean-Eric Vergne also suffered a puncture during the race, with Paul di Resta and Lewis Hamilton also experiencing problems over the course of the weekend. All of this has led to Pirelli confirming that they will be re-assessing their tyre design for the British Grand Prix.
After the race, Alonso was called to the race stewards office in order to answer questions about his actions on the warm-down lap. A marshal handed the race winner a Spanish flag, which he held aloft from the Ferrari in homage to his fans. However, this is against FIA regulations, but the stewards decided not to take any further action.
A final moment of panic for Ferrari fans came after the race when the FIA scrutineers took longer than usual when inspecting the floor of Fernando Alonso’s F138. Eventually though, the car passed the test.
Images courtesy of Octane Photographic.