Fernando Alonso has admitted that he would still have finished third in his home grand prix whatever tyre choice he and the McLaren team had made at his first pit-stop in Barcelona.

The double world champion opted to run the harder Bridgestone tyre in the middle stint of the race - the only driver to make that decision - but found himself slipping back into the clutches of BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica rather than closing in on leaders Felipe Massa and Lewis Hamilton.

Alonso later admitted that it had been a bit of a gamble to take the harder rubber at that point in the race, but figured that, having seen an assault on the lead go awry at the first corner, he had little to lose.

"Being fourth at the second corner, and with one or two laps less fuel than our main opponents, I think our race was a little bit over," he sighed, "It is difficult to overtake anyone on this track and I think that, strategically, it is difficult to stop one or two laps earlier. So, at that time, we thought that the prime tyre was maybe a surprise in terms of grip and performance - we were unsure before the race - so we took the gamble. We kept our fingers crossed and waited to see the result [but], looking back at the race, it was not a very good idea because, when I put the soft tyres on after the second stop, the car became much quicker and easier so maybe the softer tyre was quicker and better for the middle stint.

"However, I still think the final result would have been exactly the same if I had put on the same tyres as Lewis and Felipe. I would still have been behind them all through the race."

McLaren team-mate Hamilton later revealed that he too had been in discussion with his crew over which tyre option to take for the middle stint, before eventually plumping for the softer rubber.

"We were trying to decide whether to run two primes or an option or a prime in the second and third stints, and we weren't really quite sure," the Briton admitted, "Five laps before the pit-stop, we made the decision and stuck with it, and I think it went quite well, although we struggled in the middle stint with a bit of oversteer."

The result was a major disappointment to Alonso and the massed ranks of Spanish fans, who the McLaren driver had wanted to reward with a victory.

"No doubt there is disappointment with the race itself," he sighed, "After [what happened at] the first corner, you can try as hard as you can, you can put on different sets of tyres compared to your rivals, you can put on whatever you want. Except for Kimi's retirement, I probably wouldn't be on the podium and, after starting second, that was not the aim of the race."

Despite the setback, however, Alonso insisted that he would not change his approach to future races, particularly as Ferrari still appears to have the better car.

"It will be exactly the same, to try to win the race, try to beat the others and, for sure, try to catch Ferrari," he maintained, "They seem a little bit quicker than us, in qualifying and in the race especially. I think Felipe was 30 seconds in front of me in the middle of the race, and that's a little bit too much."

 

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