Alonso Happy to Pick Up Points

World championship leader Fernando Alonso has taken heart from the fact that he was at least able to score a few points in the Monaco Grand Prix, after Renault's afternoon was derailed by tyre problems

Alonso Happy to Pick Up Points

Although both Alonso and teammate Giancarlo Fisichella had opted for the harder choice of Michelin tyres, they had still been expected to struggle with tyre wear - and duly dropped well off the pace in the closing stages of the race.

That led to Alonso limping home in fourth place, having lost out to Williams duo Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber in the closing stages, while Fisichella slumped to 12th - claiming his afternoon had been the most difficult of his career.

"It was a really tough race for me," admitted Alonso. "I tried to look after the tyres at the start of the race, so I didn't worry too much about the fact that Raikkonen was pulling away, but in the last twenty laps, things became really difficult.

"I did all I could to keep the Williams behind me, but I couldn't hold them off because the rear tyres were in poor condition and they could brake much later into the Chicane.

"After a race like that, I think we need to look at the positive aspects: we managed to score points on an afternoon when it would have been very easy to score none at all."

Fisichella added: "I am extremely disappointed - it was probably the most difficult race of my life today. The car was impossible to drive for the last 25 laps - the rear tyres were completely gone and although I did my best to keep the other cars behind, I couldn't do it.

"The first part of the race was not too bad, and I was going well in third position, but when the safety car came out we fuelled until the end of the race. My situation got very difficult after that: the car was tricky to drive immediately after the stop, and things just got worse from there."

Team boss Flavio Briatore, who has seen his team's advantage in the Constructors' Championship cut by McLaren, believes it is important Renault do not panic about their performance.

"The only way to analyse a race like this is to look at things calmly," he said. "On the negative side, our competitors did a better job than us this afternoon and we need to understand why our car had such severe problems with tyre wear. On the positive side, it was a day when it would have been easy to score no points at all, and we still got five.

"Fernando worked miracles to finish fourth, while Fisico couldn't do anything as his tyre wear was even worse. This is not a performance that puts us under pressure - we already were, as always in Formula 1. The season will be a long one, and we now that we all have to work hard to maintain our position at the top of the table."

Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds has swiftly dismissed any suggestions that the tyre wear problems the team suffered were as a result of the team filling both Alonso and Fisichella up at their pitstop during the Safety Car period.   

"We took a risk in pitting both cars when the safety car came out, but that wasn't the critical factor today - it was the tyres," he explained. "Now, we must analyse why we suffered so much with rear tyre wear where our competitors did not."

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