4 August 2011
Alonso hoping things heat up a bit...
Having outscored all of his rivals over the past three races in conditions that should not have suited Ferrari's F150° Italia, Fernando Alonso hopes a hotter September will allow him to show what he and the Scuderia can really do
Fernando Alonso has quipped that following an uncharacteristically damp and chilly month of July in the world of F1, he would appreciate things hotting up a notch or two once the season resumes from its August break – although the cold front did not prevent the Ferrari star from outscoring all of his rivals over the past three races.
The Scuderia's F150° Italia has rarely been at its most comfortable in cooler, damper conditions, but what is undeniable is that Ferrari has succeeded in extracting a good deal more of the full potential out of its 2011 baby of late, and in just such conditions at Silverstone and the Nürburgring, Alonso triumphed and finished second.
Add to that third place in last weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring – as, like race-winner Jenson Button, he braved it by staying out on slick tyres when the rain returned in the closing stages of the race rather than switching to intermediates, a tactic that scuppered Lewis Hamilton's podium bid – and it has been a good month for the Spaniard indeed.
“I'm happy with third having started fifth,” he reflected, having endured a brace of 'offs' in Budapest in the tricky conditions. “Again, we recovered two positions in the race and we were able to jump on the podium for the fourth consecutive race. This is good for us.
“The weekend was maybe not as expected; we expected hotter temperatures and more problems with degradation for our main competitors, but in the end it didn't go like that. For the third consecutive time, [it was] difficult conditions for us, cold conditions and we reached another podium, which is a target for us every weekend.
“In this type of conditions the race is very, very long. You need to be always focussed, as with so many pit-stops and so many weather conditions, anything can happen. Unfortunately, the start didn't go as we predicted and both Mercedes' overtook us, so I had to overtake Michael [Schumacher] and then [Nico] Rosberg two times.
“Then, with the pit-stops we found ourselves behind [Mark] Webber for half of the race. After that, we were able to push in some free air and we were quite quick, but the first 30 laps we were behind the Mercedes' and behind Mark so it was a little bit too much, the price.
“[Later on] I touched the white lines in the damp conditions on dry tyres and I spun, but luckily, I could engage first gear and continue. There, I lost maybe four seconds, [but] I think I lost half-a-minute behind Webber at the beginning of the race. That was probably when the little chances we had for victory disappeared.
“Different teams chose different strategies, but we tried to do our race, always trying to avoid the traffic. Looking now, after the race, maybe the soft tyre was better than the super-soft, especially for the second or third stint, looking at the very high degradation, but we found ourselves behind Mark for two stints and we had to anticipate the stops a lot to overtake him and coming in that early, it was impossible to go to the end of the race.
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