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GP Week : Issue 153
Fernando Alonso set Spanish hearts racing yet again at his home race in Barcelona on Sunday, but fell just short of his second win of the year after taking the chequered flag three seconds shy of maiden winner Pastor Maldonado. More importantly for Alonso however, the result elevates him to second place in the drivers’ championship, level on points with leader Vettel, despite starting the year with a car vastly off the pace. Alonso took the lead at lights-out, despite starting on the dirty side of the grid, but was critically hampered by Marussia’s Charles Pic around the second phase of pitstops, costing him vital time to Pastor Maldonado. His team took the hold-up as an opportunity to choose a different strategy, going longer into his second and third stints in the hope of reaping the rewards in the closing laps. But he was never able to get close enough to challenge for the lead and crossed the line in second. Speaking after the race, Alonso doubted the delay he suffered behind Pic cost him the race win, admitting that the F2012 simply didn’t have the outright pace to reel in the Williams. “The choice was always to stop on the same lap or one lap later than Pastor, always try to cover the position. When Williams decided to stop in the second pit stop, we had one Marussia in front of us for a lap and a half,” recalled Alonso. “When we saw that in the second sector, we were already exiting behind Pastor so at that point, we decided to keep going for a few more laps and try to get the opportunity at the end of the race, with a shorter stint. “I think we didn’t lose the win because of the Marussia because if you had the pace in the last stint, you had to overtake Pastor and we didn’t because they were faster than us, but for sure, we went out of the plan because of the backmarker.” He added that Ferrari should be proud for the points they have collected in the first five races of the year, but insisted there was still work to be done to improve the competitiveness of their package. “We have probably had the most difficult start of the championship in these three years in Ferrari, with a car that was not competitive at all,” he continued. ”[Yet] we finish the first quarter of the championship, and we are leading the championship, so we have to be very, very proud and very happy with the points we achieved and with the position. “Maybe we have not to be so proud about how competitive we are but we are working on that.” ALONSO TAKES SECOND AND JOINT CHAMPIONSHIP LEAD Says Marussia backmarker didn’t cost victory 29 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> SPAIN