Fernando Alonso says Ferrari could have followed Red Bull in starting from the pit lane at the United States Grand Prix but chose to use an old power unit instead.

Sebastian Vettel is using a sixth complete power unit in Austin, which necessitates a pit lane start and has had to set his car up to try and climb through the field. Alonso said his own engine mileage is tight and could have gone for the same strategy but was pleased to qualify sixth having instead turned down the performance of a used power unit.

"I think we've been around fifth and sixth all year long in qualifying so I think nothing will change probably now," Alonso said." We could maybe have been challenging [Daniel] Ricciardo if we had a perfect day. We have a couple of tenths down on the engine because we have some limitations there after the Monza engine failure.

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"In fact, we were discussing last week about using a sixth engine and starting from the pit lane like Red Bull did or using a very old engine with a little bit less power but at least not need to recover places. We chose the second option so we are probably missing a bit of performance here and there but fifth and sixth is the way it is and I'm quite pleased with that."

And Alonso says he doesn't foresee a situation where Ferrari will use a sixth power unit at any stage, instead looking to protect a specific engine for the season finale.

"We are doing all these things to not take the sixth, but hopefully here and Brazil hopefully we can manage and of course Abu Dhabi we must have no penalty because it's double points. So if we manage here and we manage more or less Brazil then in Abu Dhabi we can have no penalty plus a good engine. We have a better engine available but we need to put the better one in Abu Dhabi which is double points and here try to manage the races the best we can."