Fernando Alonso has admitted that Ferrari's decision to pit him on lap 14 of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, in response to Mark Webber's stop two laps earlier, was a mistake.
Alonso was running fourth and needed to finish there to secure the World Championship if Sebastian Vettel won the race. Ferrari called him in to ensure he stayed ahead of Webber, but failed to plan for Nico Rosberg and Vitaly Petrov, who had stopped under safety car conditions on lap one. The Spaniard rejoined ahead of Webber but behind Rosberg and Petrov, and eventually finished seventh after Robert Kubica also jumped him on an alternative strategy.
"It's a sad feeling, but there is nothing we can do now," Alonso said. "The race didn't go as we wanted. First Petrov made the decision to stop, which was a little bit unexpected, and then Webber stopped very early as well –so we found ourselves needing to protect from either Webber or Petrov.
"We decided to cover Webber. That was maybe not the right thing, but it's always very easy to see the strategy after the race. There is nothing we can change. Someone did a better job than us and they have more points at the end of the championship, so congratulations to them."
Alonso added that he wasn't in a position to over-rule the team's decision to pit him because he didn't have the information or the time to make the call from the cockpit.
"I didn't have time to think," he said. "I saw that Webber stopped and Felipe stopped as well - and Webber was gaining time so for us it was a choice that we had to make. We either decide to pit and stay in front of Webber, or not stop and he gets in front of us.
"We can see at the end of the race that maybe if we stayed out like [Jenson] Button, it was enough. You never know if the soft tiores are going to degrade a lot more, then we could have overtaken more cars."