x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Frustrated Alonso throws in the towel at Korea GP

Fernando Alonso called it a race with two laps to go, uncharacteristically radioing his team 'I give up'. Said Alonso, who finished fifth: 'There was no way I could do more with just two laps to go.'

Fernando Alonso left the Korean Grand Prix frustrated but hoping to be able to challenge for wins at the three remaining events on the season.
Fernando Alonso left the Korean Grand Prix frustrated but hoping to be able to challenge for wins at the three remaining events on the season.

YEONGAM, SOUTH KOREA // Fernando Alonso, with only two laps left of the Korean Grand Prix, positioned fifth and failing to close the gap required to steal a podium, told his Ferrari team: "I give up".

It was uncharacteristically defeatist from the Spaniard, but by the time he had emerged from his cockpit he was already looking forward to fighting for wins in India, Abu Dhabi and Brazil.

After finishing second in Japan last week, Alonso had arrived in Yeongam with high hopes of emulating his success last year at the Korea International Circuit.

But both he and teammate Felipe Massa were incapable of matching the performance of Red Bull Racing and McLaren-Mercedes, finishing fifth and sixth respectively.

"All in all, it was an interesting race, with plenty of action," said Alonso, who is 10 points behind second-placed Jenson Button in the drivers' standings. "At the start, I was struggling a bit to match the pace of the leaders. When we switched to the soft [tyres], the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could. But by then it was difficult to reach the small group that was fighting for the podium: hence what I said on the radio. Having given my all for 20 laps, there was no way I could do more with just two laps to go."

Alonso has said in the past that he has a special desire to win India's inaugural race and also the November 13 grand prix at Yas Marina Circuit because they are the only two races on the calendar that he has never won.

"We must try and improve our Saturday performance, but we will not give up trying to secure a win in the remaining races of this season," he said. "Also, we will continue to work towards next year, trying new things and, maybe, taking a few risks with our strategy."

Alonso managed to escape an incident during lap 16 of Sunday's race when he was driving in the slipstream of Vitaly Petrov, the Renault driver. The two drivers approached Turn Three without having slowed down sufficiently, but while Alonso ran wide and around slower cars, Petrov smashed into the rear of Michael Schumacher's Mercedes.

The collision ended both Petrov's and Schumacher's races with stewards later handing the Russian a five-place grid penalty for India.

"I tried to defend my position from Fernando," Petrov said. "But I was on the dirty side of the track, which meant I locked my wheels and hit Michael."

gmeenaghan@thenational.ae


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