Fernando Alonso would have been in the fight for victory in Bahrain, according to pundits and including veteran Rubens Barrichello.
Before the race began, Mercedes’ Niki Lauda was asked to name the likely winner.
“Fernando Alonso,” he answered, despite the fact Mercedes’ own Nico Rosberg was starting from pole. “We have to be realistic,” the Austrian legend added.
The Spaniard’s charge, however, was thwarted by a failing DRS rear wing flap, which had to be manually closed by Ferrari’s mechanics during a pitstop.
It then flipped open again, forcing yet another pitstop and ruining his victory chances.
“If Alonso had not had the problem with the DRS, I’m sure he would have fought with (Sebastian) Vettel for the victory,” Barrichello, in Bahrain as a co-commentator for Brazilian television Globo, said.
Earlier in the weekend, the Brazilian had watched the action from the middle of the Sakhir layout, and named the Ferrari as among the very best cars in 2013.
“It is a wealth of data that leads me to say that Alonso would have fought with Vettel,” the 40-year-old insisted.
“The Ferrari is a great car, even with the DRS open, when Alonso lost just a second per lap,” added Barrichello.