Renault F1 technical director Bob Bell has admitted that while there was some luck involved in Fernando Alonso's victory in the Singapore Grand Prix, the Spaniard's performance in the race ensured it was a deserved win for the Enstone squad.
Alonso had already made his first pitstop in the race when the Safety Car was deployed for the first time when team-mate Nelson Piquet went off into the wall, which gave the double champion the chance to lead to the head of the field as others were left to make their stops once the caution period had come to an end.
Further Safety Car periods later in the race saw the field close up but Alonso was able to pull away at the restart and secured the first win for the Regie
since the 2006 Japanese Grand Prix.
"For me it was the Fernando of old," Bell reflected. "He never gave up and when the time came to really push hard to gain an advantage he did so and brought home the maximum points. There was certainly an element of luck with the Safety Car, but Fernando had been on it all weekend and after the second safety car he pulled out an immediate gap over Rosberg and Hamilton, which confirmed the pace of the car and what an outstanding job he did.
"When you're picking a strategy much of it comes down to assessing the probability of events during a race. The most likely thing to happen in Singapore was for there to be a Safety Car because it was a street circuit with some difficult corners. We were starting in 15th and 16th and so we had to try something different with the strategy because we had little to lose and wanted to be able to benefit from any safety car periods. As a team, we don't necessarily follow set paths; we like to be daring when opportunities allow and that's what being a good racing team is all about. I think the race in Singapore was a good example of that."
Bell admitted that the win had been a boost to both Alonso himself and to the Renault team as a whole as it seeks to return to the kind of form that saw the Spaniard take the drivers' title in both 2005 and 2006.
"He was absolutely thrilled to bits," he said. "He's a racer and he wants to win races and so to come away as the winner of the inaugural night race in Singapore is something special and something that will always be remembered. He was very pleased for the team as well and I think it showed him that we still have the potential to go out and win races. He saw us return to the sort of form that we used to enjoy and that meant as much to him as the victory itself.
"It's very important because this team has been through a very difficult period since the championship years of 2005 and 2006. We needed to bounce back and regain our self-confidence and demonstrate that as a team we could still produce a competitive car and win races. We've done that and the result has lifted everybody's morale for the final three races, but more importantly renewed our self-belief, which is so important for next year."