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Defeated Alonso defends pit strategy

Fernando AlonsoFernando Alonso defended Ferrari's decision to pit early in Abu Dhabi, despite the decision possibly contributing to him failing to his defeat in the world championship by new champion Sebastian Vettel.

Alonso chose to change to the prime tyres on lap 13 when in a title-winning fourth position, in response to Mark Webber's pitstop two laps previously. But both cars emerged behind Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov, who pitted during an early safety car. Alonso and Webber's failure to pass those two ultimately cost them the title.

"After the race it is always very easy to see the best strategy," Alonso told the BBC. "As I said now you need to cover from someone and if we didn't stop I think Webber probably would have overtaken us, if we stopped we cover from Webber but let Petrov and Rosberg in front so it was a very difficult call I think.

"It was obviously a tough difficult race," he added. " 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 from him.

"When you cover someone probably you give something away to the others. So it was then a choice between covering Vettel or [racing] 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."

Alonso, who eventually finished seventh, three places shy of his target, was seen on television pictures to apparently gesticulate his frustration at Petrov on the slowing-down lap, having been couped up behind the Renault for much of the race.

Asked whether he blamed Petrov for the result, Alonso replied: "I tried to pass him once and he protected like it was the last lap, in the last race in the championship, fighting both for the championship, so he was very aggressive.

"But he drove very well, he made no mistakes. I think next year we will try again."

Alonso described his season overall as good and paid tribute to Ferrari: "It was very good. For me especially after two years of some difficulties fighting for a place in Q3, coming back to winning races and fighting for the championship in the last race... I overtook big names in race wins, Niki Lauda, Juan Fangio.

"This is for me something amazing and I'm sure that with this team it is very possible to fight for championships in the future. So I am very happy."

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