Fernando Alonso had a lucky escape in Turkey after he ran the last four and a half laps of the race with a badly damaged left rear wheel.
A large chunk of the BBS rim was broken off when he made contact with Vitaly Petrov. The damage also explains why the Renault’s tyre deflated so quickly, as presumably it was pierced by the piece of metal.
Alonso apparently suffered no loss of pressure and indeed set his fastest lap two laps after the collision. But given the high speed nature of so many corners at the Istanbul track clearly there was a risk that either the rim or the tyre could have suffered a further failure.
Meanwhile the Spaniard managed to climb up to eighth place from his disappointing 12th grid spot.
“We recovered some positions again, starting 12th and finishing eighth,” he said. “But the race was quite a boring race for us, always stuck in traffic and fighting with Renault, Felipe with Robert and me with Petrov. So obviously we don’t want to fight with Renault for eighth place, we’d prefer to fight with Red Bull and McLaren for podiums, so we must improve.”
He is hoping that forthcoming update packages will make a difference: “I think we underperformed in Turkey and in Barcelona, so we need to understand the reasons why. We remain calm and optimistic because in Canada there’s a new package for us, Valencia another one, so hopefully in the next races we can recover the direction for a podium.
“I think we lack some aerodynamic efficiency, and some improvements in the car that are coming. We prepared very hard for the first half of the championship, we arrived to Bahrain with the maximum updates, and we won that race. And then we are preparing more updates for Valencia and Canada, so hopefully they pay off.
“I think in general we are one point in front of Vettel in the championship, it’s a clear example of how we maximised the potential of the car so far, because with Red Bull the quickest car at the moment, they are one point behind us. So we try to do our maximum.”