Fernando Alonso has said that he will not be settling for a healthy dose of points in the German Grand Prix, and has set his sights on upsetting a partisan home crowd hoping for a Sebastian Vettel victory.
The Spaniard missed out on pole position at Hockenheim by just 0.002secs, and will start from the 'dirty' side of the circuit, but insists that, with Formula One now operating under a heavily revised scoring system that offers seven points more for first place than second, only winning will be good enough for his faltering championship bid.
Alonso won the opening race of the season in Bahrain, but has struggled to break the Red Bull-McLaren duopoly since then, although recent performances in Valencia and at Silverstone hinted at a Ferrari revival that he converted into his qualifying near miss at Hockenheim. Now, having pushed Vettel so hard in the battle for pole - Alonso topped both the Q1 and Q2 phases - he is confident that he can defeat the German in head-to-head combat on raceday.
"I think we need to win the race, that's the best thing for the championship, and I think we really have the possibility here to win the race because we are competitive," he insisted, "We had the possibility in Bahrain, and we took it. I think we had the possibility in Canada, but we didn't manage to do it. Tomorrow, maybe, we have another opportunity, so hopefully we can do it.
"We will take the risk that we think is necessary. Obviously we want the points, and both [Ferraris] have to finish on the podium if possible. But, at the same time – and I'm sure that Felipe [Massa] agrees with me – we want to finish in the first two
positions on the podium."
Despite having to settle for second on the grid, thereby missing out on his first pole for the Scuderia, Alonso insisted that he was pleased with his - and the team's - performance.
"I think we have to be happy," he commented, "We are on the first row of the grid for the first time this season, so that is definitely a step forward for us. We have been very competitive all weekend, very happy with the car in Q1, Q2 and
Q3, so finally we made a perfect Saturday.
"Obviously, we lost pole position for a very small margin, but this is not important. The points are tomorrow, Sunday not Saturday, so we must stay focused for tomorrow, repeat a good day and try to score as many points as possible. Things are definitely going in the right direction - in the last two or three grands prix, we've made a massive step forward and, now, we're both here in the top three, so this is the way we have to continue and keep improving.
"At Silverstone, we knew that it was a tough race for us and, when we saw that we were competitive at Silverstone, we knew that we had a good chance at Hockenheim and Hungary, those circuits with fewer high speed corners. All the steps that we made in the last three races were very important. Some of them improved the car in high speed corners, some of them in the slower speed parts, but everything is helping to make the car much better, much more competitive, so I'm happy to finally be closer to Red Bull after ten races.