|© AP Photo/Luca Bruno
Fernando Alonso played down an emerging controversy at the Spanish Grand Prix which suggested that Ferrari favoured the Spaniard in the race over his teammate Kimi Raikkonen but a radio message suggests otherwise.
Alonso was trailing Raikkonen in the race in the first stint unable to get past the Finn, forcing the team to call the home hero in for a pit stop in an attempt to undercut his teammate.
Raikkonen was furious with the decision, as it's a norm that the leading driver within a team in a race that gets preference in strategy calls.
Alonso, however, defended the tactic stating that not only was he struggling immensely with his tyres but that he was also covering Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel, who was on a charge.
But a team radio message shown in the highlights video and broadcast on the official Formula One website reveals that Alonso's defence was weak.
"I am a little bit quicker," Alonso reported calmly over the radio as he trailed Raikkonen.
"Yeah, I know," came the reply from the Spaniard's race engineer Andrea Stella.
Shortly thereafter Alonso pitted for a fresh set of tyres but was unable to make his strategy work as he was caught up behind Adrian Sutil's Sauber on his out lap.
This resulted in Alonso battling his teammate at Turn 1 for position after Raikkonen pitted on the following lap, with the Finn retaining his position ahead of the Spaniard.
Raikkonen, who eventually finished in seventh behind the double world champion, shrugged off questions when asked whether he would have preferred to pit first and had sought answers from his team about the calls made that Sunday.