Fernando Alonso overtaking Sebastian Vettel at the Chinese Grand Prix was “not fair” because the German had already suffered car damage, the two-time world champion admitted.
During the final stages of the race, the Spaniard reduced his six-second gap with the Ferrari driver and passed him on the inside line at Turn 1, to claim the seventh place at the finish line.
After Vettel’s clash with Max Verstappen, the German fell down the track positions due to a damaged right floor and degrading tyres.
The pass was a close one and unguarded as Vettel was running on old tyres and did not have the grip for a proper defence.
Alonso admitted it was not a fair pass considering what the Ferrari had already been through.
“It was good. Obviously, it was not a fair fight because Sebastian had damage on his car and I was a little bit quicker on the corners,” said Alonso.
“I was surprised when I saw a Ferrari not going too fast at the end. I asked what was the problem and apparently, he had damage on his car so he was struggling a little bit on the corners.
“He was running very wide in the corners, so in the first opportunity I saw the door open and went for it.
“And in the end at one point the track finished, so he kept going until there was grass, so you need to back off at one point.”
As Alonso gunned for the inside line, Vettel ran out of place and went off the circuit and expressed his irritation at the McLaren driver’s rashness on the team radio. But he was still content on finishing the race in one piece.
“I was very vulnerable so he could have passed me another time,” Vettel added.
“I think the way he dived in was now or never, and I obviously had to back off, otherwise we would have just crashed. I was just happy to finish.”
McLaren had a double point finish in the first two races and Alonso scored points finish for the team at the Chinese GP. The Spaniard believes he could have got even better results if the Safety car was not deployed.
“The safety car didn’t help, definitely,” he said.
“We were executing a one-stop strategy a little bit differently, with a very long first stint that I think would have paid off in the end, but I think the safety car opened the opportunity for everybody to put a new set of tyres and that was a shame for us.
“At the same time I think it was a great battle, and we were able to overtake. It was a nice feeling and great result for the team again.”
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