Fernando Alonso believes he was fortunate to have avoided retirement mid-way through the Canadian Grand Prix due to an engine problem that left him driving "kamikaze" through the corners.
The Spaniard's second place on the grid turned to ninth by the chequered flag after a post-race penalty for unnecessary weaving saw five seconds added to his race time. That punishment dropped him behind Valtteri Bottas and Zhou Guanyu.
However, it was a suspected air leak on car 14 that caused Alonso his biggest problem on race day in Canada, leaving him vulnerable down Montreal's long straights.
"The engine," he blamed as he spoke to media, including RacingNews365.com, in Montreal. "That's the only answer. We had an engine problem on Lap 20 where we cut the engine very early on the straights, as soon as we exit the corner, so we tried to fix it but it didn't work.
"It was lucky we didn't retire the car and we still scored a few points but, until that point, I think we were fighting for the podium at the beginning of the race.
"I was just trying to survive, trying to get the DRS. I was driving kamikaze through the corners before the detection [line] because the DRS was my only safety on the straight after that."
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Alonso: I would have been fighting for P3 or P4
Alonso was confident that he could have battled Lewis Hamilton for the final podium place had his Sunday gone without serious problems.
The Spaniard also fell foul of badly timed Safety Cars, of which his Alpine team opted not to take advantage.
"I felt strong compared to [Lewis] Hamilton, we just didn't have the pace of [Max] Verstappen and [Carlos] Sainz but it was okay to control Hamilton and the Mercedes," he continued.
"And then the Virtual Safety Cars, lucky or unlucky, could have changed the race but we could still maybe fighting for P3 or P4 before the engine problem came.
"I'm here trying to be better than sixth and seventh and I think this weekend we were better than sixth and seventh."
He added: "The luck you cannot control, the reliability on car 14 should be better."
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