Fernando Alonso said that his victory at Silverstone today was ‘a wonderful surprise’, coming at a circuit where is Ferrari was not thought to be strong.
However, the Spaniard said that all the new updates on his car this weekend had made a huge difference as he took the team’s first victory of 2011.
“What a wonderful surprise!” exclaimed Alonso, who scored his 27th grand prix win today, equally Sir Jackie Stewart on the all-time winners list. “The team did an amazing job and I dedicate this win to everyone at Maranello and at the track, whose work has allowed me and Felipe to drive such a good car. It is a very special win because it comes at a legendary track like Silverstone, in front of a crowd that is so enthusiastic about cars. Also, the track characteristics were not really suited to our car, but clearly, the improvements we brought here helped a lot.
“At the start, it was not easy to drive because parts of the circuit were very wet and others were only damp in parts. There were some tricky moments, like when Hamilton overtook me, but we stayed very calm all the time, convinced we could get something out of it.
“I only realised I could win when I came back out on track after the final pit stop. Clearly the problem at Vettel's stop helped, as did the fact that, for a long time, Hamilton kept the two Red Bulls behind him, but I have to say that in the dry we were very strong.”
Felipe Massa congratulated his team-mate on the victory, noting that it comes sixty years after JosÃ© Froilan Gonzalez took the Ferrari‘s first ever win, which also came at Silverstone.
“First of all, I want to congratulate Fernando, who drove a great race to give Ferrari a very important win,” said the Brazilian. “Sixty years ago, Gonzalez won for the first time and today history has repeated itself. I think we have made a step forward this weekend in terms of performance, both in qualifying and the race.
“It's true my pace wasn't amazing today, but that could have had something to do with the fact my floor was damaged, after I hit something at Turn 6; maybe a part from another car. In terms of the strategy, maybe we could brought forward the second stop a bit, but the team did not want me to end up having to complete the final part of the race on tyres that were too worn.
“In the end, I closed right up to Hamilton, as he was struggling, but when I was behind him, he fought and I only just missed out by a fraction on getting past him. We have to continue to push on the development of the car: there are many races still ahead of us and having improved the car means we can feel more confident about the second half of the season.”
Team principal Stefano Domenicali was delighted by the result, and thinks that victory here should bode well for the remainder of the season.
“Today is a wonderful day for all of Ferrari,” he said. “Winning at such a famous circuit as Silverstone, with its rich and fascinating history, in front of an extraordinary crowd, is cause for great satisfaction.
“This result has been a long time coming but it's definitely not down to any miracles. We reacted after a very difficult start to the season, working very hard with much determination, all of us, including those who no longer work with us. We were competitive all weekend long and in all conditions: it confirms that everything went the right way.
“Congratulations to Fernando who delivered an extraordinary performance throughout the weekend and to Felipe, who fought tooth and nail right to the very last lap. The engineers say that if you are quick at this track then you can be competitive at many of the tracks on which we have yet to race. I hope that's really the case then!”