British GP: Ferrari lucky to take third place, says Fernando Alonso

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer at Silverstone
British GP highlights: Nico Rosberg wins frenetic race

Fernando Alonso urged his Ferrari team to improve their performance after taking a "lucky" third place at the British Grand Prix.

The Spaniard, who qualified only 10th, reduced his deficit to championship rival Sebastian Vettel to 21 points after the German retired from the lead.

"We need to raise our game for [the next race] the Nurburgring. We have not been good enough here," he said.

"The podium finish was down to luck; we were not fast enough."

Alonso struggled for pace all weekend and made an uncharacteristically poor start, but fought his way up to finish on the podium despite suffering a tyre failure immediately before his first pit stop, and being only eighth with just seven laps to go after an unluckily timed final pit stop just before a safety car period.

"It was a fantastic result," Alonso said. "It's not easy to recover 15 points to Sebastian on any weekend, especially when you have a difficult one like this."

He added that he had "mixed feelings" about the situation Ferrari found themselves in at the end of the race.

F1: Dramatic tyre failures hit British Grand Prix

"There were some other Sundays that we lost some points and maybe I was more optimistic," he said.

"Today we recovered some points but we know there is a lot of work to do. But I trust the team, we are united, we have a difficult weekend, we move on and now we think of the next one."

Alonso was one of six drivers to suffer a tyre failure while on track but was fortunate that his happened at the final corner before his first pit stop.

He also narrowly avoided running into the back of McLaren's Sergio Perez when the Mexican suffered his own tyre failure on Hangar Straight, and also locked his brakes at the start avoiding colliding with Romain Grosjean's Lotus and Mark Webber's Red Bull.

"We were normally very fast on Fridays, on the long run pace. It was not the case here," he said. "We were not fast in qualifying and not fast in the race - so definitely it was the overall weekend we didn't manage to make the tyres work.

"We've been very lucky - unlucky with the safety car moment that came out but very lucky with the first corner, that it was very close with Mark and Grosjean I think.

"In the first stop, lap nine, I had a tyre problem also. My tyre was finished and disintegrated in the last corner.

"For me it was the right rear that I think was new compared to all the other failures and if this happened like Felipe [Massa, his team-mate] - that I think was in Turn Five when it happened - then I would have lost the race.

"At the end it was a very lucky race and I just need to be very thankful for the team."

Vettel inherited the lead when Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton retired with the first of the tyre failures and was on course for victory when he suffered a gearbox failure.

The German said: "It was a shame, as we were in a good position. It would have been a nice race to win."

Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said: "This weekend in terms of performance was not very good. We need to understand in these two or three days at home why, because there is something I would say bigger than little details that caused us not to be at Silverstone better in terms of pace.

"It was very good for us in terms of driver classification because we have gained 15 points.

"We have seen that not only Red Bull now is strong, Mercedes is very strong and they have solved their issue in terms of degradation. Now, to win the championship, we need to improve the car."

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