While Fernando Alonso admits that missing out on victory a few laps from the end of today’s British Grand Prix leaves ‘a bitter taste in the mouth’, the Spaniard has been looking at the bigger picture and concede that the race result is actually ‘very positive’.
Second place for Alonso at Silverstone, combined with fourth for Felipe Massa, gives Ferrari their biggest points haul of the season so far.
“When you do almost the entire race in the lead and you are overtaken just a few laps from the finish, it does leave something of a bitter taste in the mouth, but after reflecting for a moment and looking at the classification, then the outcome of this Grand Prix seems very positive,” said Alonso, reflecting on his afternoon. “We have continued working on the right road: four podiums in the last five races and the fifth just missed a few laps from the end, is a nice run of results which has allowed me to lead the Championship.
“This is an important moment in the season: it's not at this time that you win the championship, but one can start to lose it here and we are pleased to have extended our advantage over the majority of our closest rivals. We must continue like this for the next two races, trying to always make it to the podium.
“If you had told me back on Thursday that I'd be going home with 18 points to my name, I would have signed for that right away,” he added. “However, the championship is still very open: Red Bull is very strong, but we definitely cannot rule out McLaren, because they had a really bad weekend here and on top of that, Lotus are always very fast. There is a lot to do, but as we have said several times, we are on the right road.”
Massa was pleased with his result today, and recognises this as a sign that his performances are heading in the right direction.
“It was a good race and I am glad to have finally brought home a good result for me and for the team,” said the Brazilian. “Race after race, the situation has been improving and now we are capable of fighting for the podium: it might have happened here, but it could also have been possible in Montreal and Valencia, which means that today's performance is not a fluke.
“It was not easy to make the right tyre choice for the start, because we did not have much data available: Fernando and I went down different routes, but I don't think either one of us has anything to complain about. I got a good start and then there was long and close duel with Michael and I lost some time behind him: Vettel benefited from that, managing to get past me in the run of pit stops. Then, my pace was very similar to the Red Bull, so I could not get close enough to think about attacking.
“In the final stint, I concentrated mainly on defending my position against Kimi who was coming back at me very quickly: maybe if there had been a few more laps, he would have managed to get by.
“We must continue to push, as we have done over these past few months and then, I'm sure the results will come. Is it enough to confirm my place at Ferrari? I don't see any reason why that could not happen if, as I said, the results come.”
Stefano Domenicali made a point of praising Massa on his result today, but also acknowledged that the team were disappointed Alonso could not claim victory.
“We have picked up thirty very big points here at Silverstone,” said the Ferrari team principal. “Once again, Fernando drove a great race, for the umpteenth time this season and has gained points over the majority of his nearest rivals, but let me tell you that I am particularly happy with the display put on by Felipe, who was in the fight for pole yesterday and for the podium, right down to the last, today. It is a nice result for him, which is particularly important for us in terms of the Constructors' championship, where thanks to the biggest points haul of the year, we have managed to move up to second place.
“Obviously, when you lose the lead, just a few laps from the end of a race, there's a hint of regret, at least in the heat of the moment, but then it dawns on you that this is a really important result for both championships.
“I am glad that the spectators were finally able to enjoy a dry day at the track and were able to witness a great show: here, one can feel that the passion for motor sport is really strong and it is always a pleasure for us to come and race in front of such enthusiastic and knowledgeable fans,” Domenicali added.