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Page last updated at 14:07 GMT, Sunday, 18 April 2010 15:07 UK

Ferrari play down Alonso overtake on team-mate Massa

Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso

Cheeky Alonso nips past Massa in pits

Ferrari have played down the incident which saw Fernando Alonso perform an audacious overtaking move on team-mate Felipe Massa at the Chinese Grand Prix.

Alonso barged in front of Massa at the entrance to the pit lane when the safety car came out on lap 22 of an incident-packed race in Shanghai.

"It was just a racing incident," said Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali.

Alonso added: "For me it was a normal move and it definitely won't compromise our relationship."

The move meant that Alonso gained a place as well as having his pit-stop first while Massa, who went on the grass to avoid his team-mate, waited his turn.

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"I ended up on a puddle of water coming out of the hairpin and slightly lost control of the car," said Massa in a Ferrari statement.

"He managed to get inside me, passing me going into the pit lane. I lost some places because of it, as I had to wait for his stop to be finished."

Alonso went on to finish fourth while Massa, who led the drivers' championship standings going into the race, had to settle for ninth place.

"If he was not my team-mate, there wouldn't be so much talk about it," said the Spanish two-time world champion.

And Domenicali added: "We only saw it afterwards on the television replay.

"There is absolutely no problem between the two drivers. When you are always racing to win, you can have moments like this."

Alonso, who won the season-opening race in Bahrain but was forced to retire in Malaysia last time out, started the rain-affected race from third on the grid.

He led going into the first corner after overtaking the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber but was adjudged to have made a false start and was given a stop-go penalty.

"We did five pit stops which is definitely unusual," added Alonso. "All in all, I think we took the right decisions at the right time.

"In a race like this you only understand at the end what would have been the best thing to do, as neither on the pit wall nor in the car do we have a crystal ball.

"I made a serious mistake at the start as my reflexes let me down and I left early. It's never happened to me before and I am very disappointed with myself. Luckily, despite the penalty, I managed to finish fourth.

"We have a great potential and we must hope we get some normal races like the one in Bahrain. The start of the championship has gone well - we have shown we are competitive on all the tracks and we have what it takes to win the title.

"Clearly, we have to up our points tally and improve our qualifying performance."

Massa, who has enjoyed podium finishes in Bahrain and Australia this year, was not happy with his result, saying in a team statement: "We have to do better and that means working on the development of the car.

"Right from the start, it was difficult to make the right choice in terms of what tyres to use because of the changeable weather.

"In the closing laps, I was struggling a lot with the tyres, but Michael was suffering worse than me and I managed to pass him.

"We have seen how the situation can change radically from one race to the next: we need to work as hard as possible to try and get the most out of the potential at our disposal."

The next race takes place in Barcelona, Spain on 9 May.



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see also
Button pips Hamilton to China win
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Button revels in 'best' victory
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Hamilton & Vettel given reprimand
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Red Bull 'blown away' says Webber
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Volcano cloud threatens F1 teams
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Two companies vie for tyre supply
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Chinese Grand Prix as it happened
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Chinese Grand Prix photos
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