Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso defended his team’s strategy of calling him in for an early pit stop on Sunday after his seventh-placed finish in the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix ended his world title bid.
The 30-year-old, who went into the race as the series leader, could not fight back from his mid-field position to score enough points to make an impact as Red Bull’s German driver Sebastian Vettel won a thrilling race to seize the title.
Alonso was in fourth place on lap 13 when Ferrari called him in to switch tyres, having seen his Australian championship rival Mark Webber of Red Bull make a pit stop two laps previously.
“After the race, it is always very easy to see the best strategy,” he said.
“We felt it was the best one. Sometimes you need to cover from someone and if we didn’t stop I think Webber probably would have overtaken us.
“Of course, if we stopped we covered Webber, but we let (Vitaly) Petrov and (Nico) Rosberg get in front of us so it was a very difficult call I think.
“It was obviously a tough difficult race.
“I lost a position at the start and then when the first safety car came out, Petrov and Rosberg came in so ... We saw some problems with the soft tyres, Webber pitted and then we tried to cover him. “When you cover someone, probably you give something away to the others. So it was then a choice between covering Webber or fighting Petrov and Rosberg.
“So we covered Webber and then it was difficult to overtake Petrov. The Renault is very quick on the top speed so it was a frustrating race behind him. “But this is a sport. This is motor racing. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Congratulations to Red Bull and Sebastian, but next year we will try again.”
In the final outcome, Alonso needed to finish fourth to score the points to take the title.
He waved a fist at Petrov in frustration on the slowing down lap after the race. “I tried to pass him once and he protected like it was the last lap - in the last race in the championship with us both fighting for the championship,” said Alonso.