Six races and five Sebastian Vettel victories down, Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso has admitted the German is well on track for his second world championship in 2011.
“There’s only one occasion that (many early wins) happened, (it was) a couple of years ago with Jenson (Button) and we know Jenson’s result,” said the Spaniard, referring to Jenson Button’s 2009 title after a stellar start to the season with Brawn.
“I think we saw in the last couple of years that if you win five or six grands prix you’ve nearly won the championship, so if you win five of the first six, you are in a very good position,” added Alonso.
Also after Red Bull driver Vettel’s Monaco win, his third race victory on the trot, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton agreed: “It’s not too late (to win the championship) but it’s not looking great.”
23-year-old Vettel’s lead after six races is 58 points over Hamilton.
But the gap might have been smaller had Alonso and Button been able to challenge Vettel in the closing laps as the German’s tyres wore.
The race was red-flagged for Vitaly Petrov’s crash and, with just a few laps left, Vettel was allowed to change his badly worn Pirellis for a new set on the grid.
“I was ready to attack,” said Alonso. “There was nothing to lose for me. I am not leading the championship so I will try to win the race and if we crash we crash.”
Vettel’s situation was caused when Red Bull accidentally fitted soft tyres to his RB7 during a calamitous pitstop when a two-stop strategy was actually planned.
“It was because of a radio communication problem,” explained team boss Christian Horner to autohebdo.fr. “The guys didn’t know what tyres to put on.
“We wanted to put the super softs on to defend from Jenson, but instead we said ‘Well, it’s not a disaster, let’s go on (with a one-stopper)’,” he added.
McLaren’s Button, meanwhile, finished third after a three-stop strategy, but compared with Vettel and also Alonso his tyres were the newest when the red-flag waved at the end.
“If the race was not interrupted, I think the decision (for three stops) would have been the right one,” boss Martin Whitmarsh is quoted by Auto Motor und Sport.
“Now, of course, we’ll never know.”
© RIF | GMM