• Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

Delayed stop didn't cost Alonso

ESPNF1 Staff
November 13, 2011 « 'It was one of my best races' - Hamilton | Button rues KERS problems »
Fernando Alonso was surprised by the pace of his car in race trim © Getty Images
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Fernando Alonso said that his delayed final pit stop did not cost him victory as he finished second in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Alonso was closing in on Lewis Hamilton ahead of the final round of pit stops, and stayed out for two extra laps on the soft tyre in order to try and get ahead of the McLaren. Having opened up a 20 second lead, Alonso pitted but encountered a slow-moving HRT on entry to the pit lane, while also having a slower stop before rejoining in second. With Hamilton going on to extend his lead by the end of the race, Alonso said he would not have been able to stay ahead if he had gained a position in the pits.

"It was a fantastic race for me with a very good start a then a good first lap fight for Jenson and obviously with the problem with Sebastian we found ourselves in second," Alonso said. "Then we fought all the way through the race, more or less with a distance of three to five seconds with Lewis.

"And then in the last pit stop we stayed out two laps longer than the McLaren and we were close I think, but we had some traffic in the pit entry behind one HRT and I think we lost a little bit of ground. But anyway, I think in the last stint they had a bit more pace so even if we were able to overtake in the stops it was difficult to win the race. So extremely happy with second and we enjoyed this weekend."

Alonso admitted that even being competitive enough to hold on to second place was a surprise for him.

"At that point [first lap] we thought it would be a long race defending the second position, but it was not like that. The car was performing so well, the pace was so good that we were looking more to Hamilton and to the victory than to the mirror. So that was a surprise, and it was one of those Sundays when the car is better than expected."

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