Alonso: It will be a beautiful last four races to the end
14 October, 2012
Oct.14 (FIA) Fernando Alonso relinquished his championship lead as Red Bull dominated the Korean Grand Prix, nevertheless the Ferrari did what he does best and managed the damage and left himself with a fighting chance with four races remaining in the title battle. During the post race press conference the Spaniard reflected on a tough afternoon at Yeongam.
You’ve led for so long in this championship,[and now] you’re six points behind – you should be happy because the car was quite competitive. Do you feel that? Do you feel there’s more to come from you and Ferrari?
Fernando Alonso: Yes, definitely. I think we have to be happy with the performance today, we finished third and fourth, just behind Red Bull that at the moment are difficult to beat. So, it was a good day for the team, for Felipe, for me, and I think we also overtook McLaren in the Constructors’ Championship, which is something that maybe we didn’t expect two or three races ago, so definitely we are moving in the right direction. We just need a little last step to be as competitive as Red Bull and I think it will be a beautiful last four races to the end.
Your fourth third place but I’m sure you’re looking forward to getting back on top. What sort of effort can you imagine Ferrari making before the next couple of races?
FA: Well see, I think it’s a question mark. We didn’t bring to the last six or seven races nothing new so we are doing what we can at the moment and we are trying to save points which I think we are doing perfectly every Sunday. Again it was a perfect Sunday for us: good start, good strategy at the right time and in the right moment. Then finishing again on the podium. So, I think it was a very strong Sunday but we hopefully make a little bit of a step in terms of performance and then we can fight for bigger things. But anyway, very, very happy with today’s race, very happy with the performance. We saw Sunday again move us a little bit closer to the top guys, and also with the position in the championship. Obviously we lost the lead by six points but if we think how it went for us the last four or five races, with two retirements, nothing to do with the team, no mistakes from the team, not mechanical problems or anything like that, just some people flying over us and things like that. With all these problems, being six points behind leaves open a lot of possibilities for us in the last four races.
You got to within 1.4s of Mark at one point, 1.3s, but similarly, Felipe got to within about the same of you as well. Was that all down to tyre performance?
FA: It depends how much you use your tyres or what the conditions of the tyres in that part of the race. We seem to be a little bit more competitive or less competitive. Or closer or a little bit further than the opponents in terms of distance. Obviously it was nice to try to be within one second here because you can use the DRS on the straight – but we could not have that possibility so we lost a little bit there.
Ferrari is not bringing any new parts. You’re still there fighting and staying close to them. How frustrating is it?
FA: Nothing new, nothing new. The last five years of my career has been like this. I’m good,
I’m confident, used to this situation. We have normally one set of tyres in Q3, there is not time for mistakes, no time to lock up a tyre or go over a kerb or anything like that on Saturday or on Sunday. We are always on the limit, but we feel comfortable, let’s say, like this. We seem to extract the maximum from the car when we are under pressure and as I said, four beautiful races to come with good possibilities for us to fight for the championship, but in the end, I’m sure there will be some circuits where we are a little bit more competitive, and some circuits where we are maybe not competitive enough, but overall, in the last four races, as we said, now we need to score seven points more than Sebastian, that will be extremely tough but we believe we can do it.
Earlier on this season, before this round of fly-aways, you said that Ferrari’s best circuits were going to be Singapore, Japan and Korea. We’ve obviously finished those. What kind of expectations do you have for competitiveness at the other circuits, apart from Austin?
FA: We will see. It will depend obviously on the updates in the car. I think we will see in India if there are any new parts. If there are, we will need to test them. For sure, the other teams will also bring new parts, maybe more than us, so we need to see which of them are working, which of them are not working and for who they work. I think the performance of the car will depend on that. I think in Singapore and Suzuka and Korea we felt competitive. In Singapore maybe not so much but we were able to be on the podium. In Suzuka we saw Felipe finish in second and here both of us were third and fourth, so overall they have been more or less good races for us apart from the puncture in Suzuka, so in terms of performance I think we are there. Obviously Red Bull have made a step forward and they won three races. They were one and two in qualifying in Suzuka, one and two in qualifying here, one and two in the race here so it’s something that is not in our hands.
Do you believe that the yellow flag was a key factor in the beginning of the race, nine laps with the yellow flag in the first sector?
FA: I don’t think so, I don’t think so because I was not within one second of Mark so it was not really a possibility to use the DRS – obviously with the DRS you cannot do it. I think it was maybe a little penalty – or a little bit worse for the guys behind me. I think Lewis, Felipe and Kimi didn’t have the possibility to open the DRS because of the yellow flag and I think for Felipe’s race it was a little bit easier if he could overtake Hamilton straight away at the beginning, but not for me.
You used to say that the weakest point at Ferrari was in qualifying, but Red Bull looked clearly faster than you in the race. Were you expecting that and are you a bit concerned for the next races?
FA: Of course I was expecting that. I think we were not the fastest car in the race in our championship so I didn’t come to Korea expecting to be the fastest car on Sunday. We always said that we improve on Sunday compared to Saturday. I think between the two cars, in 15 or 16 races, the other Ferrari was in Q3 six times, ten times not in Q3 so definitely there is not the performance in qualifying which we then see on Sunday, when we normally improve. Yesterday we were P4 and P6 and today we were in P3 and P4, so definitely on Sunday there is always a step forward for us but we never believe or we never thought we were the fastest in the race and today was more or less as expected or better than expected, because we were fighting with Webber all the race which was something we were not able to do in Singapore or in Suzuka.
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