Fernando Alonso blamed the numerous safety car periods for his failure to finish higher than seventh in the Canadian Grand Prix in Montreal, seemingly forgetting the first corner lapse that seemed to put paid to his chances from the word go.

The Spaniard attempted to go all the way around the outside of pole-sitting McLaren-Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton into the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve's notorious turn one, but in leaving his braking too late he skated across the run-off area and grass and slipped back to third place behind BMW-Sauber's Nick Heidfeld. From that point on he never really regained the momentum he had lost, and several more off-piste moments - coupled with a ten second stop-go penalty for pitting too soon under the first safety car period - followed on his way to the chequered flag.

"I was a little bit unlucky I think," the reigning double world champion told journalists at the track afterwards. "It was a strange and difficult race and I knew the safety car would provide some drama if it came out. Both times we had to pit there was a safety car, but if it had come out either one lap later or one lap earlier the result would probably have changed completely."

"It worked to Lewis' advantage today and my disadvantage," he added. "I came into the pits for the first time on lap 24 as I had no more fuel, so basically there was nothing I could do. It was a shame as this resulted in a ten-second penalty. I guess unfortunately those are the rules, but there was no alternative other than to stop on track with no fuel.

"After that I had to push as hard as possible because I was stuck in the middle of the field. When you push to the maximum you sometimes go off-track, but at that stage there was nothing to lose. Whilst it was a difficult race for me I'm pleased for the team and Lewis that we were able to secure some important points and for Lewis winning his first grand prix."

The 25-year-old also had a special mention for Robert Kubica, who miraculously survived a monster high-speed shunt after clipping the back of Jarno Trulli's Toyota heading down towards the hairpin, one of the incidents that brought out the safety car. Although the Pole may not be able to race next weekend in Indianapolis, Alonso certainly will be there, and out to get some payback.

"Robert is ok, and I think that's the most important thing to come out of today's race," he underlined. "At the end of the day we are professionals, but we are all team-mates too and we want Formula 1 cars to be safe.

"I will hope for a bit more luck in the US Grand Prix, and at least I can leave Montreal with two points more than (Felipe) Massa."

 

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