Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali admitted that it was 'painful' to see Fernando Alonso lapped en-route to fifth in the Spanish Grand Prix.

Alonso had made a storming start to his home event to jump from fourth on the grid to lead at the first corner, and he managed to stay ahead until the second round of stops, when Sebastian Vettel emerged in the lead.

The Spaniard then struggled with the harder compound Pirelli tyres and dropped back to fifth, with his pace dropping off to such an extent that he was lapped by Vettel and Lewis Hamilton before the finish.

"There is no denying that being lapped hurts," Domenicali said. "It's even more painful after seeing a driver of Fernando's calibre putting on such a breathtaking display at the start and then fighting like a lion to keep drivers with clearly faster cars behind him for almost twenty laps. We need to provide him and Felipe with a car with which they can fight all the way to the end of a race and not just in the first part.

"On a track that favours cars that have a lot of aerodynamic downforce, ours are lacking in this area and that was glaringly obvious, especially on the new hard tyres brought here by Pirelli. We never managed to get this type of tyre to work and our pace was at least two seconds off that of the first four.

"What to do now? Continue to work on improving the car and finding the aerodynamic downforce that is lacking. We now go into a run of three races which will see the use of the soft and supersoft tyres: we will see what happens and assess the situation at that point."

Alonso himself said he was pleased to have been able to lead in front of his home fans but said he was powerless to fight for victory as the race wore on.

"The best bit of the race was obviously the start," he said. "We have worked so much on this area and you could see the outcome. It was fantastic to see the crowd cheering in the grandstands! I tried to do the maximum, keeping the quickest ones behind me for around twenty laps, but after that, there was nothing I could do.

"It was very stressful having them filling my mirrors all the time and we tried as much as possible to copy or anticipate their moves. That meant doing over the half the race on the hards, which penalised us heavily and made the gap bigger than it is in reality.

"We lack aerodynamic downforce: here we did not have a wing that suited this track. We must analyse carefully the behaviour of all the modifications we brought to this Grand Prix and understand why, in the space of two weeks, we have lost ground to Red Bull and McLaren. Now we head off to Monaco immediately for what is a special race on the calendar. Anything could happen there. Sure, we know the amount of downforce required at this track is the highest of the year, but that was also the case last year and we were competitive.

"I am definitely not thinking of giving up on the championship after just five races: the gap in the classification is very big, but everything can still happen, I'm sure of it."

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