Double world champion Fernando Alonso says he does not regret the decision not to pit for a new front wing which ultimately caused his retirement in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The Ferrari driver, 31, broke his front wing when he made contact with Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel at turn two at Sepang.
With the track drying out after a rain shower, the team took the decision not to pit after the first lap in the hope they could keep going and change the wing when they changed tyres.
However, the wing gave way and became trapped underneath the car on the start-finish straight on lap two, sending Alonso flying off into the gravel and out of the race.
The Spaniard is now 22 points behind leader Vettel in the drivers’ championship ahead of this weekend’s Chinese Grand Prix but he remains positive about his title chances.
He said: “There are two or three DNFs for everyone in every championship in the last 10 years of F1. It happened to [Nico] Rosberg in Australia, to me in Malaysia.
“I hope not, but I guess it will happen to me again because the average is two or three DNFs so we need to be prepared for that and, when it comes to the others, try to take the opportunity to score the maximum points.
“Obviously we regret having the contact in the second corner. Stopping or not stopping the damage was already done, so we will try to be a bit more careful, take a little bit more margin and hopefully it will not happen again.”
Alonso has been outpaced by team-mate Felipe Massa in both qualifying sessions this season, as well as the last two sessions of last season.
The Spaniard played down those results, but admitted his Brazilian team-mate is in very good form at the moment and it will take an “extraordinary” lap to beat him.
Alonso said: “He is doing a fantastic job, he is driving 100%. The calculations you are doing are strange calculations because it’s races from last year and races from this year.
“In Australia we were on dry tyres on a wet track and in Malaysia when we were on intermediate tyres on a nearly dry track. I don’t think they were completely normal qualifying session, but it’s good he’s doing a good job.
“Hopefully I can finish ahead of him in some qualifying sessions this year and if I do so it will be an extraordinary lap.”
Alonso said while he needs improve his pace in qualifying, he is confident he will have a car that is capable of achieving a podium finish on Sunday.
“I think we have to improve our qualifying, which is a weak point compared to our race pace, but overall here, our target is to fight to finish on the podium,” he said.
“With a gap of five weeks since Australia we, and I guess most teams, have had the time to produce some updates and I am reasonably optimistic that what we have brought here will deliver the results we expect. That’s why we are aiming for the podium.”
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