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Difference of opinion over first corner incident

NEWS STORY
14/05/2007

Fernando Alonso has criticised Spanish Grand Prix winner Felipe Massa for the first corner incident which saw the McLaren driver go off track, losing a number of positions. Although to most observers, it appeared to be a racing incident, Alonso, claims that the corner was his, since he was ahead of the Brazilian, but that the Ferrari driver hit him.

"I think the start was very similar between the two cars but then obviously I put myself behind Felipe and thanks to the slipstream I was a little bit quicker," said the McLaren driver. "I went on the outside, I braked later and I think I was much in front of him in the first corner, but unfortunately he didn't think so and we touched each other.

"We were lucky to both finish the race because in 99 percent of these type of incidents, both cars will finish (their race) at the first corner. Sometimes I think this type of thing is very dangerous.

Referring to damage his car incurred in the incident, the Spaniard said: "I think the car was damaged all through the race and unfortunately it was a little bit more difficult to drive. We also took the gamble when we took the prime tyre in the first stop, just to see if there was some advantage there because we needed a miracle after being third, a little bit too far behind the first two people on lap 15 or lap 16, so we took the gamble and it was not fantastic. So we went back to the option tyre at the end, and the car became a little bit quicker. After the first corner, you need to risk too many things and it's difficult that everything goes well after that."

Asked if, in his opinion, Massa drove dangerously, Alonso backed off, just a little.

"In this type of incident 99 per cent of the time both cars will finish in the first corner as we saw in GP2," he said. "I think when you are fighting for the championship it is very risky to be as aggressive as this in the first corner, sometimes, and I only mean that. We were lucky today that both cars finished, one first and one third, and thanks to that the incident will become a little less important.

Naturally, Massa saw it differently.

"I was inside, so I had the car inside, so I don't understand his point," said the Brazilian. "It was just a normal race accident and as long as I am inside, close to the car going to the first corner, I will keep there. I will not move. So, if somebody was aggressive, it was Fernando, it was not me."

When Alonso was asked if he wanted the race stewards to investigate the incident, the McLaren driver made no secret of how he views some of their previous decisions.

"I think the stewards are a little bit up and down," he said. "They investigated me last year in Monza when I was half a kilometre in front of the other car and maybe this year they don't investigate too much these things.

"I think the incident is one for which everyone can have his own opinion," he continued. "If you look at my car, at my side-pod and the rear side of the car, it is completely touched. I think that shows everybody who arrived first into the corner. I was more than half a car in front. The other question, I don't know."

Lewis Hamilton, who had the best view of the incident, appeared to take the fifth amendment; "I got on with my race and I didn't see it," said the Englishman. "I was focusing on my job."

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