Yeongam, South Korea, Oct 16, 2011 (AFP) - Fernando Alonso cleared up a mischievous mystery in the aftermath of Sunday's Korean Grand Prix when, after finishing fifth, he explained why he told Ferrari: "I give up, I give up" -- with just two laps remaining.
Alonso spoke to his team in English and, to many who heard the remark made on team radio, it seemed he was exasperated with his experience in the race and particularly with his car and team-mate Brazilian Felipe Massa.
Massa had been ahead of him for a long period early in the race and appeared to be slower and therefore holding him up in his pursuit of race leader and double champion German Sebastian Vettel.
But Alonso, well-known for his dry and often practical sense of humour, said he did not mean any more than a statement of the obvious - he was giving up his chase for a podium.
He said: "I had a little moment close to the wall. So, I asked the team how many laps left and they said 'two' and I said 'with two, I cannot do it'."
He went on to add that he was not upset with Massa or the team. "I was not much quicker than him at that time. I struggled a lot in the first part of the race with the super-soft tyres so I tried to manage the degradation. Then, after the stops, I found myself between (Vitaly Petrov and Michael (Schumacher) and really close to their accident in Turn Three.
"Behind Nico, we also lost a bit of time, but I was not much quicker at that time of the race. When we switched to the softs, the situation improved significantly and, with a clear track, I was able to push as hard as I could.
"I did 20 qualifying laps to catch the group in front, but we arrived a little bit too late to the battle. I was only quick in the last stint so we will try to see why."
He added that he did not think Ferrari could catch or overhaul Red Bull in the remaining three races this year.
He said: "If we have some podium finishes in the remaining races, they will be welcome. And, if by surprise we can win one race, it'll be even better!
"Mostly, we will continue to work towards next year, trying new things and maybe, taking a few risks with our strategy.
"Today, I gave my all for 20 laps, but there was no more I could do with just two laps to go and that is why I said what I did on the radio."