Double F1 World Champion Fernando Alonso has admitted that Michael Schumacher's controversial overtaking manoeuvre on him almost within sight of the chequered flag in last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix did not come as a surprise.
After the disappearance of the safety car – brought out for the late-race coming-together between Lotus ace Jarno Trulli and Hispania rookie Karun Chandhok as the duo disputed 13th place – Mercedes Grand Prix informed its two drivers, Schumacher and Nico Rosberg, that they were free to race to the end, and the latter duly opportunistically snuck past Alonso's Ferrari for P6 into the last corner.
However, other teams – and the stewards – took a different view, ruling that the move was illegal as the race was still effectively under safety car conditions until the cars reached the start/finish line, and 'Schumi' was consequently docked 20 seconds, dropping him from sixth out of the points to twelfth. Alonso insists he never had any doubt that the German legend would be penalised.
“The team told me over the radio that we could not overtake,” the Spaniard told spox.com
. “I wanted to attack Lewis Hamilton, but I was forbidden by the team to do it. The fact that Michael went ahead to pass me didn't surprise me.”
Despite having had to start from the pit-lane after writing off his car in FP3 in a disagreement with the Massenet crash barriers, Alonso was rapid indeed on race day in Monte Carlo and aggressively and impressively fought his way up through the order to take away eight potentially vital points, contending afterwards that but for his practice mishap he would have been 'in the right shape to fight for the win' [see separate story – click here
]. It was, he confirmed, a step in the right direction.
“Following on from Barcelona, where we were not fast enough to win, on the Monaco track – where aerodynamics are less important – we were more competitive,” the 28-year-old Oviedo native opined in conclusion.