Fernando Alonso has hailed Ferrari’s decision to come clean about their controversial call to change Felipe Massa’s gearbox at the United States GP
While his title rival Sebastian Vettel claimed pole position on Saturday, Alonso could only manage a P9 during qualifying.
However, he was bumped up one place and onto the clean side of the track on race day after Ferrari cleverly decided to break the seal on Massa’s gearbox, which automatically resulted in a five-place grid penalty.
The Spaniard made the most of the tactical move as he jumped into fourth place on the opening lap, and then managed to get ahead of Kimi Raikkonen during the pit stops to finish third behind winner Lewis Hamilton and Vettel.
Alonso admits he is “proud” that the team made it clear why they broke tinkered with Massa’s gearbox.
“It was a choice decision from the team,” he said.
“We [were going to] start sixth and eighth. We were worried to arrive ninth and 10th into the first corner. I’m proud of this decision, I’m proud of team for saying the truth [behind the decision].”
He added: “Felipe was fantastic all weekend. He was very fast in FP3. He was faster than me in Q1, Q2, Q3. We need this form from Felipe in Sao Paulo. Red Bull will be strong and we need our team to be united.”
Hamilton’s win coupled with Alonso’s P3 mean the Championship will be decided at the season-ending Brazilian GP next week as Vettel has a 13-point lead over the Ferrari driver.
“With a normal race in dry conditions, I think Red Bull will be 1-2 and us sixth and seventh, but in a wet race, anything can happen,” he said.
“We saw today [Mark] Webber retired. Sometimes it’s the alternator, Kers, brakes or water. It always happens on that car. Maybe in Brazil those problems will change [to the other] car.”