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Alonso blames loss on tyres changes
2006-10-01 05:42:22 Xinhua English

SHANGHAI, Oct. 1 (Xinhua) -- Renault's defending champion Fernando Alonso blamed his Chinese Grand Prix loss on wrong tyres changes after finishing a dramatic race in second on Sunday.

The Spaniard, who started from the pole position, lost the edge after his first pit stop and then surrendered the victory to title rival Michael Schumacher of Ferrari.

"This was a difficult race for the team because we lost a very good opportunity today," said a bitterly disappointed Alonso.

He built up a good lead in the first 20 laps, but two crucial periods of the race cost him vital track time.

The first came at the end of the stint when, after discussions with Fernando and Michelin, the team chose to change his severely worn front tyres only.

"We made the decision to change the fronts for a new pair, and it was the wrong one as we saw with Fisi and Michael, who kept all four tyres on the car and were much quicker," Alonso said.

"After that, the only thing we could do was go to dry tyres as early as possible and hope to catch up the time to Michael," he added.

However, a second pit-stop problem when a wheel nut came loose from the gun cost him vital seconds.

After the leaders had stopped, he was 25 seconds behind with 15laps to go. Although he subsequently closed the deficit rapidly, time ran out before he could catch leader Michael Schumacher.

"But this is a fantastic fight for the championship, and I go to Japan feeling really confident. We had the quickest car today, and we have two more good chances to win. I believe we can do it," said Alonso.

He is now level on points with Schumacher, but had to stand second due to less race victories this season. Enditem

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