Fernando Alonso said he was happy with the result of the Korean Grand Prix, despite seeing his tenure as F1 championship leader come to close.
The Spaniard went into the event having seen his advantage over Sebastian Vettel cut to just four points in Japan, with Red Bull going to Korea as hot favourites for victory.
As it was, Vettel duly secured a lights-to-flag victory ahead of team-mate Mark Webber with Alonso emerging as best of the rest in third, and the Spaniard said it was a result he could be pleased with in the circumstances.
"It was a difficult race and, come the end of the weekend, I am happy with the way things went,” he said. “I was starting from the dirty side of the track, we had doubts over tyre life and what would be the race pace of our rivals. With all these concerns, managing to get to the podium meant I could breathe a big sigh of relief.
“It's true that Red Bull was quickest all weekend, but our aim was to be right behind them and we achieved that. It's also true that I am no longer leading the championship, but being six points down does not mean much, just as it did not mean much being four points up going into this race.
“It is also very significant that we are back in second place in the Constructors', as it means the team is on the case and that will be our strong point from now until the end of the season. Being in this position having pretty much skipped two races out of the last four says a lot.”
Despite now being the hunter rather than the hunted, and despite seeing Vettel make it three wins in a row, Alonso insisted that he could still prevent the German from taking his third successive title.
“There are a hundred points up for grabs and everything will depend on how much we can improve over the coming races,” he said. “Here we were much closer to the lead than we were in Singapore and nearer than in Suzuka, so we must continue in this direction.
“Vettel's three wins in a row? Well, he and Red Bull have had three perfect weekends so congratulations for that, but when everything goes smoothly for so long, inevitably sooner or later something has to happen. We are right in the fight for the title with a car that has never been the fastest. It seems we are capable of doing something good too, don't you think."