Fernando Alonso was refusing to be downhearted despite ending his run of finishes in the top two with an unusually lacklustre run to fifth place in the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis.

It has been a difficult weekend for Alonso in general after struggling down in fifth place in qualifying and then never really being able to push hard in a Renault that has had to play second fiddle to Ferrari and at times Toyota in the race.

Nonetheless, Alonso did give Michael Schumacher a competitive wheel-to-wheel tussle into the first few corners as he tried to force his car ahead of the German. However, the Spaniard was unable to find a way through and was soon in the clutches of clearly faster team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

Eventually letting him through, Alonso lost a further two places to the Toyotas through the pit stop period and looked to be onto just three points in sixth place when Ralf Schumacher eventually had to retire.

Indeed, Alonso insisted his car was just not good enough to challenge for the podium positions, citing grip and Bridgestone's upturn in form as his main problem.

"Fifth was the maximum I could do today. I was not competitive all weekend and the car was lacking grip all the way through the race, as well as completing race two of a very hard cycle for the engine. So I did the maximum possible, and made sure I scored points for the championship."

Nonetheless, Alonso was remaining positive, pointing out that he scored no points on his North American travels last year, yet came away with 14 this year. He is also expecting the normal balance to be restored when the season resumes in France for Renault's home race.

"Looking back to last year, I scored zero points in North America; this year, I have scored 14 and my championship position is still very strong. That's a big reason to stay positive. Ferrari and Bridgestone were quicker than us today but in ten races, we have had the better tyres for nine of them, so I am not worried for the next Grands Prix.

"We must carry on doing our job, and know that sometimes we can win, sometimes not. I am already looking forward to the next race, where I think we will see a more usual balance of competitiveness between Renault and Ferrari."



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