4 September 2012
Alonso: We broke everything on top of the car
Fernando Alonso expresses his relief at emerging unscathed from the opening lap accident that marred the Belgian Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso may have been frustrated at seeing his F1 world championship lead all but halved at the Belgian Grand Prix, but admits that he is more relieved to still be able to defend what's left at this weekend's Monza round.
The Spaniard was caught up in a first corner accident triggered by Lotus' Romain Grosjean tangling with Lewis Hamilton, vaulting the Frenchman over the back of the Ferrari before the melee also ensnared both Saubers. While Grosjean took the blame for the incident - and was banned from the Italian GP by stewards who deemed his move from left to right on the run to La Source to have been excessive and dangerous - in-car footage suggested that it was Alonso who came closest to suffering serious injury, with the Lotus passing perilously close to his helmet.
While the incident has naturally raised speculation that F1 may soon have to make the switch to closed, or better protected, cockpits, Alonso admitted that, other than a little back pain caused by a hard landing after his Ferrari had been forced up and over Kamui Kobayashi's Sauber, he had somehow escaped injury.
"I think we broke everything on top of the car, so I was lucky in that aspect," he was quoted as telling Agence France-Presse, "I'm disappointed because of the points lost, but I'm also lucky that I can be in the car in five days at Monza because, looking at the images, we were turning in so you could have a problem with your hands or even your head because Grosjean's car was so close."
Having lined up fifth on the grid at Spa-Francorchamps, Alonso had made a good getaway in pursuit of poleman Jenson Button, and says he had no idea that there had been an incident in his wake until Grosjean appeared over his right shoulder.
"The first thing was [Pastor] Maldonado [jumping the start] - I was surprised because we still had the red lights and he was already P3 or P2," he recalled, "The start was good, as I overtook the two Saubers and was in third position, but I started turning in and then it felt like a train coming. It was a big, big hit."
"I didn't know what had happened until I saw it on TV because it was difficult to imagine how the hit could be so big or how a car could be on you so quickly. After seeing it on TV, I saw Grosjean and Lewis touch each other. They lost control and then it was in front of us."
Alonso's retirement also broke his long run of points-scoring finishes one shy of equally Michael Schumacher's all-time record, and sees him head to Monza for this weekend's Italian Grand Prix just 24 points ahead of reigning champion Sebastian Vettel, who came from tenth on the grid to finish second to Button in Belgium.
"Certain drivers should try and take fewer risks at the start," the Spaniard concluded, "It's a bit of a tendency in the junior formulae, but it would be better if, right from the start of their career, they got used to respecting more strictly the rules relating to behaviour on track...."
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