Fernando Alonso has conceded that fourth was probably the best he could hope for today in Belgium.
Alonso ran right at the front for much of the race in his Ferrari and was looking strong until his second and final stop, when he had to switch to the harder of the two tyres. He was then hauled in by Mark Webber and Jenson Button, who passed the Spaniard on laps 37 and 42 respectively, dropping him to P4 at the 'flag.
“It would have been difficult to do better than this fourth place today, especially given how much we suffered on the Medium tyres: in these conditions, we are a second and a half slower than the best,” Alonso confirmed. “Honestly, I didn't think I had a real chance of winning, but a podium was within our grasp.
“The strategy saw me lead in the early stages, but then, we knew that in the final part, we would have struggled more. I had fun in the first stint: the start was good and then I had some nice duels. A shame about the podium: it was our target and was possible, despite qualifying eighth yesterday.
“Compared to the gap we saw yesterday in qualifying, the situation was very different today, but we are well aware that, with temperatures which were definitely not very hot for summer time, we paid too high a price.
“At the moment, we must congratulate our opponents, who are doing a fantastic job, but we will not give up, at least until the mathematics tell us otherwise.
“We will always try and win, giving it our best shot, starting in Monza, a very special event for Ferrari and for all its fans, and then in all the other remaining races this season,” he added.
Team-mate Felipe Massa meanwhile had to settle for eighth, an extra stop due to a puncture, doing nothing to help his cause: “It was rather a strange race for me. In the opening phase I was absolutely in the fight for the top places, but then I started to have tyre problems and the car seemed to no longer be so well balanced,” lamented the Brazilian.
“With the Mediums, the situation improved, maybe also down to an adjustment to the front wing which we made at the pit stop, but we were not quick enough, as was clearly evident and by then it was too late. On top of that, I also had a puncture on the left rear tyre which meant I had to make another stop.
“When I found myself behind [Nico] Rosberg [near the end], I could not pass him, despite the DRS, because their top speed is very good. Furthermore, I was struggling especially in the slowest corners – the final chicane and La Source – and that stopped me from getting as good a tow as possible.
“The next event is the home race for the team, but it is also very important for me and I really want to get a good result there.”