Two-time F1 world champion Fernando Alonso claimed second place in front of his home fans today at the Spanish Grand Prix.
Alonso ran strongly throughout the 66-laps at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, and while he would never have claimed P2 on merit, he did enough to put his Ferrari F10 in the perfect position when first Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel and then McLaren's Lewis Hamilton hit problems in the closing stages of the race.
The result moves the Spaniard up to second in the drivers' championship and leaves him just three points off the lead going into the seventh round on the F1 2010 schedule, the Monaco Grand Prix, which takes place next weekend.
“I am happy with getting this second place in front of my fans: I am happy for them, but especially for the team, who have worked so hard this weekend without making mistakes. It's true the result came in an unexpected way, but that's racing,” Alonso reflected.
“We knew we could expect a difficult Grand Prix, because on tracks like this we still don't have enough aerodynamic downforce to fight for pole position and the win, even if the races are very long and that was confirmed yet again today. In circumstances like this we have to try and attack and exploit every opportunity.
“Our strong point seems to be tyre management as ours seemed to be in better condition than those of our rivals in the final stages of the race. We have to up our performance level, but we do have the potential to win the championship.
“The management system for the blown rear wing worked well but it is still at the experimental stage. Maybe in Turkey we will have an updated version. Now we go to Monaco, a special Grand Prix that everyone wants to win.
“Set-up and tyres will be different to what we had here and we will see where that puts us compared to the others. After a few difficult races, I got back on the podium and I am second, three points behind the leader of the classification: there is still a long way to go in the championship, but I repeat, this is a great result.”
Ferrari boss Stefano Domenciali meanwhile was clearly impressed by his number one driver, although he also noted that need to improve the F10.
“Our aim today was to make the most of the package we had and we can claim to have succeeded in that. Fernando drove an amazing race, managing the car and tyres in the best way possible and this second place is just reward for all the hard work he has done, along with the team.
“Overall, we can be pleased with this result, given the situation in terms of different performance levels when compared to some of our rivals. However, as we are well aware, the races are long and difficult and only end at the chequered flag. We must continue to work on our performance because we have a significant gap to make up. We must continue to work on performance, because some of our rivals have shown they have made a bigger step forward than us,” he summed-up.