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Alonso blames tyres for title blow
July 31, 2006 11:58 IST
Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso blamed blistering tyres for keeping him off the podium in Sunday's German Grand Prix.
The Spaniard finished fifth to see his once-commanding overall lead slashed to 11 points by Ferrari's triumphant Michael Schumacher.
"We were not competitive this weekend," said the 25-year-old in a team statement. "But I did the maximum I could and so did the team. I think that without the blistering we experienced, the podium was a possibility for me today.
"I got a good start and passed both Hondas but the tyres then blistered in the opening stint and I lost too much time to be able to fight for third place."
Schumacher, whose team uses Bridgestone tyres whereas Renault are supplied by Michelin, romped to his third win in a row and Alonso recognised that the pressure was now on even if he stayed calm.
"When you look at the level of performance over the weekend, and consider the blistering, then the result is not too bad," said the Spaniard.
"But we did not have enough to fight Ferrari here and that was the problem for us," he added.
"Now we need to think positive and look to Hungary. The tyres we use there are totally different to what you need for Hockenheim and I have confidence in Michelin to give us the right products."
The Hungarian Grand Prix is next weekend and serves as a reminder of both highs and lows for Alonso, who has won six of the 12 races so far this season.
In 2003 he became the youngest driver to win a Formula One Grand Prix there and in 2004 finished third. Last year, however, he finished 11th and lapped.
"The important thing after a difficult weekend like this one is to stay calm," said Renault team boss Flavio Briatore. "We are still leading both championships but we are in a tough fight, as we expected at the start of the season.
"Now we need to regroup...analyse with Michelin what happened this weekend and push hard to get back on top in Budapest."
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