Alonso laments lost time

Fernando Alonso admitted on Sunday that his failure to pass Jacques Villeneuve in the opening stages of the Australian Grand Prix might have cost his Renault team a one-two finish in the season-opening event.

Alonso finished third, little more than one second behind second-placed Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello, as his Italian team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella claimed the first win of the season for the Anglo-French outfit.

But the Spanish driver admitted: "I followed Jacques for 17 laps with a very good fight, but I lost nearly 25 seconds to the podium finish. I was two or three times in the grass because I knew it was an important part of the race.

"In those laps behind Jacques I was really pushing very hard with maximum fuel load. It was difficult to drive but the car was quicker on each lap and I enjoyed the whole race.”

Alonso set the fastest lap of the race on his way to picking up six points for third place and after running consistently at the front all weekend he admitted the start of the season could not have gone much better for the team.

His only disappointment came in Saturday's first qualifying session, when bad luck with the weather conditions left him in a difficult 13th spot on the grid, but he gained three places at the start and never looked back.

"It has been a good weekend,"he said. "I have always been in the top three, even in the wet conditions on Saturday and for sure my 13th place on the grid was not my real position for the potential of the car this weekend.

"I was confident to recover the time (I lost) and thanks to the team and the balance of the car and for the pit-stops that were fantastic again, from the guys, and also thanks to Michelin who did a good job.

"They developed this type of tyre with this consistency throughout the race, its something that is really fun for the drivers and you can push at any lap of the race and set the fastest lap at the end.”
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