23 September 2013
Singapore Grand Prix: Alonso: We didn’t know how long tyres would last
Fernando Alonso was pleased to make a tyre gamble pay off in Singapore, but lamented the general lack of performance from his Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso has admitted that second place in the Singapore Grand Prix was by no means certain as he coaxed his ageing tyres to the line in Marina Bay.
Like many of those around him entering the closing stages of an arduous encounter, the Spaniard had pitted under the mid-race safety car before his Ferrari team took the decision to try and make the harder of the two Pirelli compounds last for nearly 40 laps in order to capitalise on track position later in the race.
While the likes of Jenson Button and Nico Hulkenberg, on similar strategies, faded away with ten laps to run, Alonso was able to carry on in second spot, albeit a long way behind runaway leader Sebastian Vettel. The Spaniard was helped by not having to battle with anyone, as there was a sizeable cushion back to third place, where Button eventually succumbed to Kimi Raikkonen before dropping to seventh at the flag.
“We didn't know exactly how long the tyres would survive,” Alonso revealed after a 36-lap run to the finish, “We were maybe not expecting that long, but...
“We are 60 points behind in the championship so, if it works, okay; if it doesn't work then maybe we don't finish second, we finish fourth or fifth. It's nothing really...
“There was a small chance that if [Nico] Rosberg, [Mark] Webber and [Lewis] Hamilton were not that slow after the safety car, maybe Sebastian didn't get the 28 seconds necessary to exit in front of me but Nico, I think, had a problem with the front wing, Webber was without tyres and Hamilton pitted very late so, when I had a free track and Seb pitted, we had a small chance to maybe lead the race.
“Obviously, it was very difficult to keep Sebastian, [especially] in the last part of the race with [the Red Bull on] new tyres and us with a very slow pace. But we tried, [we had] nothing to lose and I think that will be the strategy in the last part of the championship. We are not as fast as they are in qualifying or in the race, so we will try something different.”
Alonso revealed that it had been the team's decision to run the second half of the race on the same set of tyres, although his task was eased slightly by most of those around him running similar strategies.
“It was not easy, obviously, to finish the race with those tyres, but we committed to that strategy when we pitted under the safety car,” he explained, “I asked how many laps to go and they told me 36 and said we will pit and then we will decide [what to do].
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