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Fourth place was a miracle: Alonso

Alan Baldwin | May 23, 2005 11:12 IST

Renault's Formula One leader Fernando Alonso hailed a 'miraculous' fourth place after a rollercoaster Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday.

After running second for most of the race, the 23-year-old was hampered by heavy wear to his rear tyres and did well to hang on to five points as he crossed the line with a queue of cars jostling in his slipstream.

"At the end I managed to finish fourth, which I consider a miracle considering how the car went today," he told reporters. "I'm happy at the end.

"Some laps I thought I was going to be on the podium, at other times that I was going to hit the guard rail and then I feared I would finish out of the points.

"I went past [Italian team mate] Giancarlo [Fisichella] and saw his car was running very badly and I thought mine might be like that after a few more laps."

Fisichella finished 12th.

Alonso tried hard to hold off Williams' Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber but both slipped past at the chicane after the tunnel exit to take second and third places behind McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen.

Monaco marked the first time this season that Alonso, winner of three races, had failed to finish on the podium but his overall lead over Raikkonen is still a comfortable 22 points.

He seemed untroubled by the Finn's second win in a row.

"I am not too worried. Kimi will be one of the contenders for the championship but at the moment he is quite far behind," said Alonso. "We have to improve and finish in front of him some times also.

"I think Monaco is a very specific race and we don't have to be too worried. We have won half of the races this year with this car so I think it's not that bad with the tyres."

Renault boss Flavio Briatore, whose team won in Monaco last year with Italian Jarno Trulli, said they needed to understand why there had been such problems with tyre wear but he applauded Alonso's efforts.

"It was a day when it would have been easy to score no points at all, and we still got five," he declared.

"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," he added. "We already were, as always in Formula One."

Renault, winners of the first four races of the season, have 63 points from six races to McLaren's 51.


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