MONTREAL, June 10, 2012 (AFP) - Fernando Alonso refused to blame his Ferrari team's tactics despite dropping to fifth place during the final stages of Sunday's Canadian Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion was challenging race-winner Lewis Hamilton of McLaren with 18 laps remaining but decided to stay out on worn tyres when the Briton pitted.
This resulted in a considerable drop in pace, which cost the Spaniard four positions, and he eventually finished fifth behind German Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who also struggled with tyre wear but made a last-minute pit-stop and re-passed the Spaniard with one lap remaining.
In spite of this, Alonso supported his team's tactics and blamed the disappointing result on unavoidable tyre degradation.
"We made the decision to try to win the race and it didn't work out, not because of the strategy, but because of the tyre degradation," he said.
"I want that to be very clear because there will be confusion tomorrow, from people who don't understand the race.
"If we had stopped with Hamilton we would have returned in fourth and then with (Romain) Grosjean's degradation we would have finished fourth in the race and it would have been a huge mistake to stop."
Alonso added that he was puzzled after being overtaken by Frenchman Grosjean and Mexico's Sergio Perez of Sauber, who ran the same one-stop strategy.
"We stopped on the same lap as Grosjean and he finished second with the same lap-times as Hamilton, so it's not about stopping with Hamilton or deciding not to stop, or stopping once or twice.
"The problem is that Grosjean did 55 laps with the tyres with a good pace and we did 45. That's the only problem."
His Ferrari team-mate, Felipe Massa, however, was "angry" after he spun on the fifth lap and wound up 10th.
"I am angry with myself for the mistake at turn one. I lost touch with the quickest group and then my tyres were vibrating too much, which meant I had to pit early.
"Tenth place definitely does not reflect our potential. Now it is vital we continue to work in this direction. It was a weekend in which we were always fighting for the top places and we have improved in every area and that has to be a confidence boost for the rest of the season."