Alonso: The race went like a movie for us, like a dream
9 September, 2012
Sep.9 (FIA) Fernando Alonso salvaged third place after starting the Italian Grand Prix at Monza from tenth on the grid. The Spaniard was involved in a tight duel with Sebastian Vettel which ended when the world champion got a drive through penalty. Nevertheless Alonso continues to have a handy lead in the championship standings. He spoke on the podium and in the FIA press conference after the race. here are highlights.
It was a difficult race for you, from where came from, please explain.
Fernando Alonso: It was a difficult race starting from tenth. But we knew that we had maybe the quickest car maybe this weekend. We missed pole position yesterday but todaywe had the pace to recover positions, so it was good.
After qualifying tenth, I guess third place is good. Still a bit frustrated or not?
FA: No, no. Absolutely perfect Sunday for us. Obviously the win was out of reach after the problem yesterday. Starting tenth [it] is not easy to think about victory, so if you cannot win, [a[ podium is [the] next target. In all the simulations and all the predictions we had, it was never a podium finish, so basically it’s much better than expected. Jenson was out of the race and the two Red Bulls…so [a] perfect Sunday maybe.
And you picked up a couple of places at the start…
FA: Yeah, the start was good. Obvious we didn’t have maybe the best start but it was enough to overtake two or three cars, good first corner and then those two first laps were, I think, making the difference of our race. We overtook di Resta, Kimi, Michael very quickly. And that gave us the opportunity to follow Sebastian and the quick cars that were there in the first five positions. So, when you find yourself sixth after two or three laps, the race improves a lot.
Then you had a bit of a moment with Sebastian, where you found yourself on the grass through the Curva Grande. What happened there?
FA: Nothing really to say.
After qualifying you said it wasn’t a good day but it would be OK in the worst case if both McLarens win. The day was even better because only one of them are [in] front of you. Sergio was there. What can you say? You build up your lead in the championship.
FA: Yeah, definitely. Yesterday was a disappointment day for us and especially for our fans. I think they were supporting us massively this weekend and we really had the opportunity to be on pole or in the first row and we missed it. So, we were sad for us and most of all for the fans. So, yeah, looking at the championship, we say we need to concentrate who will be second. It was Vettel yesterday and we were happy for the McLarens to be strong this weekend. And yeah, the race went like a movie for us, like a dream.
Were you surprised by Vettel’s action; you seemed to be forced off to the left side of the corner at that moment? Were you scared that your race could be compromised at that point?
FA: I think it was compromised. I lost ten laps behind him so I lost whatever seconds there were at that moment after the incident, also the laps behind him. I’m sure the car is damaged because at 330km/h you are jumping over the gravel. I don’t think that the floor and everything – all the details that you take care of because the race – will be completely fine after those jumps.
Do you think that the guy alongside you is going to be your main competitor in the championship?
FA: We’ll see, we will see in the next couple of races and how the teams develop the parts. At the moment McLaren has won the last three grands prix and they are in top form. I think from Jerez they won in winter testing, who was the driver that I respect more and that was Lewis and we’re still here, 11 or 12 races afterwards we are first and second in the championship. It will be tough until the end.
Several times you have said that you love the Singapore circuit, it’s perfect for your style and Lewis also loves to drive on street circuits. What do you project for the next race, now you’re both fighting for the championship?
FA: Well, we’ll see. I think it’s a very nice race, very nice atmosphere in Singapore and not only for the race on Sunday. I think from the day you arrive, Wednesday or Thursday, it’s a special weekend, you feel it. All the times and everything is out of the normal routine and I think you enjoy the change a little bit more and I think the circuit is quite interesting, very challenging. I think you enjoy driving there. Fans are always very close to us in that circuit as well and I think there will be a nice atmosphere, a nice fight. Personally I hope it will be a good test for us because there are a lot of new things that we will bring to Singapore, so let’s hope we can fight for the win.
You said you were really lucky here, but how much does the car need to improve, because sometimes you cannot depend on being lucky?
FA: Yes, obviously I don’t consider that we’ve been lucky. We’ve just been unlucky, even yesterday, compared with many of the others, and today someone broke some parts that is probably something that is not right, as we broke some parts yesterday that we need to investigate and it’s our mistake. In Spa we’ve been unlucky because we didn’t break any parts so we didn’t make any mistakes, it was just a car landing on us, so I don’t think that we are particularly lucky but it’s true that we need to improve the car, to improve the performance a little bit, not this weekend because to be honest we had the fastest car with McLaren, so we were very happy to fight all the free practice, qualifying and now in the race for the top positions, and hopefully we can continue this in another track, because we know that Monza is a very unique layout, so if we continue like this we will be happy, and that’s our aim.
In your opinion what was the difference between the movement of Vettel today and the movement you made in the same place last season? Was it more aggressive? What’s your opinion?
FA: I think we need to see it on TV. Last year it was not penalised, this year it has been. I think there is a big difference for the people who understand this movement.
When you were fighting against Vettel and you were on the grass, what were you thinking at that moment?
FA: Nothing. I tried to get off the grass and continue the race. I wanted to finish the race and not have another DNF because of an accident, just taking some margin, the same as when Sergio arrived a second quicker than us in the last part of the race: what can we do? We tried to defend the position a little bit but we cannot be crazy and try to do things that are impossible to do.
Very tight first corner here. From tenth on the grid what was your approach for the start and how did that first corner go for you?
FA: Actually I have a very open mind in terms of strategy for the first corner. I just wanted to see how the car started and how the first 200 meters went and after that decide. The start was good in the first 200 meters so after that the approach was aggressive. After you make a good start, you need to continue, and you cannot lose what you gain in the first 200 meters. We risked but it was close. As you said, very tight first corner here so it’s very easy to lose your front nose or whatever. It was tight but it was good.
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