• Belgian GP - Race

Penalty ended podium chances - Alonso

ESPN Staff
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Fernando Alonso believes his hopes of a podium at the Belgian Grand Prix ended after the penalty incurred for the problems he experienced on the grid.

Ahead of the race Alonso looked well-placed in fourth but, as the cars departed for the formation lap, the Spaniard was still raised on the jacks - with Ferrari mechanics returning to his car as others pulled away around him. The Ferrari eventually got going before the last car had crossed the line, meaning Alonso could start from fourth, but he was given a five-second penalty for his first pit stop. Alonso says the problems related to the F14 T's battery.

"At the start we had problems with the electricity of the car, the power of the car," Alonso said. "I think we had to replace some kind of battery in the last minute as we could not fire the car on, as it was stopped with everything off - no power.

"We put in the extra battery, the portable they have on the grid, and everything was OK, but the battery inside the car was empty, I think. We managed anyway to start the car and do the normal start and the five-second penalty was the lesser problem at that moment."

Though a relatively lenient penalty Alonso thinks it meant he dropped away from the likes of Valtteri Bottas, who finished third, at a crucial point in the race.

"Without that I was in front of Bottas when I stopped, Bottas finished third and I could have been around those positions. At least we could finish and help the team with the maximum points that today I could make. I think the car was more or less competitive this weekend.

"We thought we would be quite a long way from Williams and we were a little bit competitive than we thought. In my case the power was the biggest concern. We had all weekend a bit of a deficit on the power unit so this extra horsepower that we could have we were missing in the race probably. Over one race it was OK but it could not change the race from day and night. The battery at the start was the biggest price we paid."

On the final lap Alonso lost his front wing after hitting Sebastian Vettel, which followed an entertaining duel with Kevin Magnussen which at one point saw him on the grass at Kemmel - enough to earn the Dane a post-race penalty. Alonso believes the frantic finish only made it more difficult to score a more competitive result.

"[Magnussen] was lapping one Caterham and we were all in the slipstream, and when he moved to pass I had the extra speed and tried to overtake and he closed a little bit too much maybe - I had half the car on the grass.

"In the last lap I broke the front wing in the first corner touching with Sebastian. I lost around 10 seconds in one lap and luckily it was the last lap. All this action meant it was always an uphill race for us today."

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