Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso believes his team’s strategy did not cost him victory in Sunday’s Belgian Grand Prix.
The Spaniard opted not to stop when the safety car came out on lap 13, whereas eventual race winner Sebastian Vettel pitted for new tyres.
“The safety car came when our tyres were in good shape so we stayed out,” said Alonso, who finished fourth. “The choice was good for us and opened the possibility for us to win. But Vettel had more of a pace advantage.
“The Red Bulls have an advantage of a second or a second and a half and when you have a car that is that much faster it is easy to stop one lap early or one lap late.”
The two-time world champion took the lead after the departure of the safety car, which was deployed following Lewis Hamilton’s crash, but Vettel regained it on lap 18 and went on to cruise to victory.
Alonso finished off the podium for the first time in five races after being overtaken by McLaren’s Jenson Button with two laps to go.
Although the Spaniard is third in the drivers championship on 157 points, 10 points behind closest rival Webber but 102 behind defending champion Vettel, with seven races remaining, the Spaniard is refusing to give up hope of catching the Red Bulls.
“It gets more difficult to close the gap every race with 25 points less available and the gap increases even more because Red Bull keep winning. They are doing a fantastic job and when a team or a car can do that you just have to say well done.
“It is more difficult every race, we have 25 points less available because this is one less race and the gap increased even more because they keep winning.
“As we said for the last four or five grand prixs, until mathematically it is impossible to win we have hope and we will keep fighting, but we are realistic. The championship chance is not in our hands and they need to make mistakes – we try to enjoy every Sunday and do our best.”