Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari's decision to qualify and start on medium-compound Pirellis allowed him to overachieve in the German Grand Prix.
The Spaniard finished fourth, just 7.721 seconds behind race winner Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull and within two seconds of third-placed Romain Grosjean's Lotus. But despite coming close to the podium, he believes that the Ferrari did not have the pace to challenge for such a strong finish without opting for an alternative strategy.
"It was a very good strategy, it gave us the possibility to fight for the podium," said Alonso when asked about the decision to start on mediums after the race. "We were not quick enough today, we didn't have the pace and even with that we fought for the podium and were very close to the leading group.
"It's hard for me to imagine that if we started fifth and did soft, medium, medium, medium, I would have finished five seconds behind them or fought with them because we are slower and they will pull away. We were fighting with them because of the strategy."
Alonso started the final lap just over seven-tenths of a second behind Grosjean, but lapped over a second slower than the Lotus driver and then stopped on the slow-down lap. But team principal Stefano Domenicali confirmed that these were unrelated and that Alonso had simply lost time on the final lap once he realised it was not possible to pass the Lotus.
"At the end, we stopped because we wanted to make sure that we had the fuel needed for the regulation [sample]," said Domenicali. "The fact he was not able to catch [Grosjean] on the last lap was not connected to the fuel."