Fernando Alonso has admitted that he lucked in to his first Formula One victory in a year after being forced to adopt an aggressive strategy for the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix.
Despite being a force throughout practice on Friday and Saturday, the Spaniard was sidelined in the second phase of qualifying when a fuel pipe came adrift in the rear of his Renault, obliging him to start an unrepresentative 15th on the grid for F1's first night race.
With its dreams of a possible podium apparently in tatters, Renault investigated the various options open to it ahead of what was expected to be a gruelling 61-lap race around the bumpy, 23-turn, Marina Bay layout in an effort to salvage as much as possible from the weekend. Alonso revealed post-race that the team's initial choice would have been to follow the sort of one-stop strategy that saw Jarno Trulli and Giancarlo Fisichella run deep into the race, but that concerns forced it to rethink.
"We knew that one stop was a little bit better for us, as our simulations said one stop could maybe work a little bit better," he explained, "But we had no brakes to do one stop because they were running too hot all weekend as there are not long enough straights to cool the brakes. It is corner after corner, and we did not have the brakes for a one-stop strategy."
Unwilling to follow the herd and run a more conventional two-stop gameplan, which would likely have produced little in the way of points, Alonso and engineering director Pat Symonds opted to go radical, a strategy which also allowed the Spaniard to use his least preferred tyres early on.
"We chose to do a very aggressive first stint, as we knew, starting 15th, you cannot overtake anyone here," Alonso pointed out, "We said one stop is not possible, so we tried something very different. We tried a very short first stint and tried to make up as many places as possible at the start and on the first lap, and then see from there.
"For me, the supersoft tyre was not working all weekend. Any time we put the hard tyre on, the car had much more grip and the lap time was nearly seven tenths of a second quicker. So we wanted to do a very short first stint with a good start and good first lap, so we said we will put on the supersoft and then we will have the good tyre all through the long stints.
"I think I had a little bit of an advantage compared to Nico [Rosberg] because of the tyres. I think the prime were a little bit better, so I was with the better tyre in the last stint of the race. I was running with low revs when I was alone and then, at the restart, I put maximum engine and, thanks to the tyres as well, I was able to pull away from Nico. As I said, it worked for me and it worked for Nico but, obviously, we were lucky.
"The start was good but, obviously, not good enough. But the pace was there as, afterwards, all through the race, we were able to pull some distance, some gap, to the guys behind us and this was thanks to the car, which was super today."