Fernando Alonso admits that his fine drive through the field to sixth place in Monaco was 'bittersweet' – with his accident in final practice preventing the Spaniard from fighting for a second win of the F1 season.
Alonso clouted the barriers at Massenet in final practice, writing off his Ferrari chassis in the process, and was forced to miss qualifying as the team set about building up a new car for the race.
Starting from the pitlane as a result, Alonso made an early pitstop and fought his way to sixth, although he conceded that it could have been much more.
“The Monaco Grand Prix was bittersweet for me,” he said. “Clearly, in terms of the points I picked up, it was not good enough, especially as we were in the right shape to fight for the win.
“[But] on Saturday morning, you all know what happened and sixth place on Sunday therefore had a very different flavour to it: this result should make the team proud of all they did in difficult circumstances.
“It's never happened to me before, not to be able to take part in qualifying. It can happen that you go out in the early stages, because of a mistake or a technical problem, but to find yourself having to watch the screen right from the start, that was really cruel.
“Sunday was very satisfying. We were aware that if we wanted to finish in the points, everything had to be perfect: the car, strategy, overtaking and tyres. And that was indeed the case. The first laps were very hectic, with six overtaking moves and then I had to try and make the most of the strategy, waiting for others to pit. From lap 28, I found myself sixth and, from that point onwards, my main aim was to manage the car and the tyres.
“We had only finished rebuilding the car a few hours earlier and to finish such a tough race without the slightest problem shows just how great the lads are.”
Alonso again insisted that he was right not to fight Michael Schumacher for position during the final Safety Car period, with the German being handed a post-race penalty for overtaking the Ferrari man on the exit of Rascasse on the final lap.
“At the end came the incident with Michael,” he said. “The pit wall had told me that, as the race was still under the Safety Car on the last lap, overtaking was not allowed and so I was calm and that was later confirmed by the stewards, who put things right.”