Fernando Alonso admits his hopes of challenging for victory in the Turkish Grand Prix were over by the first corner when he was beaten to the opening bend by both BMWs.

Starting fourth, on the dirtier side of the grid, Alonso got a fair start but was caught unawares by both Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld who aggressively drove around the Spaniard at the first corner and dropped him to sixth.

Proceeding to follow Heidfeld for a total of 17 laps, by the time Alonso had freed himself from both drivers' clutches through the first round of pit stops, he was already too far behind to make a difference to the top three.

Nonetheless, fate played into the double world champion's hands when team-mate Lewis Hamilton got caught out by his puncture and tumbled down the order.

Promoting Alonso to a distant third behind the Ferraris, it also means just five points separate himself and Hamilton, instead of the eighth points it looked as though it would be with a quarter of the race left to run.

"It was not the plan to lose two places at the start, and so my race was pretty much over when I came into the first corner in sixth place," he said. "I was following Nick Heidfeld for 17 laps at the start, and it was very difficult to overtake him. Fortunately we were able to do this in the first round of pit-stops and that was when my race could really start.

"Unfortunately I was 30 seconds down at that point, so third was a good result considering. I was told by the team to take it easy after Lewis's puncture to avoid the same thing happening to me, but as I was already quite far back it did not make too much of a difference to my race."