A second win of the season confirmed that Fernando Alonso is a serious championship contender, although he still lies 17 points behind Sebastian Vettel, who has scored well in every race.
Alonso’s Barcelona victory was his first at the track since 2006, but his third in Spain counting his surprise Valencia success last year.
“It’s very special winning at home,” said Alonso. “It doesn’t matter how many times you can do it, how many you repeat it, it’s always like starting from zero and you have again very emotional last laps, very long last laps because you want to finish obviously as soon as possible.
“I’m extremely happy for the team to have both cars on the podium after a difficult qualifying that maybe we were not too fast yesterday. But we knew we had the pace on the long runs and we wanted to have some clear air to exploit this potential in the car. We did it. Everything worked perfectly. Happy for the team, for the fans and hopefully this is not a one-off.”
Alonso agreed that getting ahead of Raikkonen and Hamilton on the first lap was crucial to his race.
“I think we knew that to win the race we needed to pass people at the start. The start was very good but then it was very narrow and we didn’t have the space to move a little bit. So, I wait for a better opportunity. It came straight after turn one. I saw Kimi and Lewis running a little bit wide in turn one so I changed trajectory and I had a clean exit in turn two. I passed Kimi and I said ‘why not also Hamilton?’
“I had a little bit of KERS that I saved from the start for turn three, so I used that to pass Hamilton and I think that was a lot in the race and I think also when exiting the first pitstop, we undercut and we overtook Vettel, in the strategy in lap 11 but not Rosberg. So Rosberg, we have to overtake him at the end of the straight. And that was also very close.
Alonso believes that he has his best chance yet of winning the championship in a Ferrari.
“Probably yes, in terms of performance of the car. We should have won the championship, I believe, in 2010. We arrived in Abu Dhabi with seven points, or nine points ahead of Sebastian [actually 15]. We lost there but nothing we can change now. Last year maybe we didn’t deserve it because we were one second off the pace but even with that we manage to fight until Brazil race.
“So, this year we have in our hands a package that maybe is not the fastest, still not the fastest but we are working on that. But definitely on Sundays it’s a very competitive team package, let’s say. We are not the quickest over one lap, maybe we don’t set the fastest time in the race but we have fantastic strategy people, fantastic pitstops, the starts, tyre degradation. We have many ingredients to have a competitive car to fight for the championship.
“In the four years in Ferrari maybe it’s true that this is the one we feel more confident with but we are not happy still with the performance of the car and we want to have a good and aggressive developing programme for the next races.”