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Alonso: Second better than we expected

Fernando Alonso has praised the Ferrari team for helping him achieve an unexpected second place in the Japanese GP.
Fernando Alonso has admitted that, with tyre wear a key issue in the Japanese Grand Prix, the only way to make up places was to out-fumble the opposition in the pits.

The Spaniard started on the inside of row three after being out-qualified, not only by both McLarens and Sebastian Vettel, but also by Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa, but a solid run - both on track and in the pits - throughout the 53 laps ensured that he was in position to fight for the podium.

"I think it was a good race, and a good weekend in general, for us," Alonso, who lost his mantle as the sport's youngest double champion to Vettel, confirmed, "Trouble-free in practice and then a good qualifying performance, fourth and fifth, in front of [Mark] Webber, so the car was quite competitive here.

"At the end, with a perfect race, good start, good strategy, good pit-stops and a good pace throughout the race, second feels much, much better than we expected before the start at three o'clock. It is a good result and gives us some extra motivation for the remaining races knowing that it is going to be tough as the updates on the car will be minimal but, in some races, some circuits, we are still competitive, so why not fight for victory in one of the remaining races."

Interestingly, Alonso could not recall passing anyone for position during the entire race, suggesting that he sweeping move on team-mate Massa was engineered rather than spontaneous, but paid tribute to the Ferrari team for the timing and execution of its pit-stops, which resulted in the #5 car emerging ahead of Vettel at the third and final round of stops.

"From the start, we didn't overtake any car, but the strategy was quite important, with a lot of tyre degradation, so we picked the right moment to stop and we had the pace today to fight with McLaren and Red Bull and, finally, take a fantastic podium," Alonso reflected, "I think it is a good thing for the team after difficult races where we were not so competitive that we came back to a good level here, and this podium means a lot for the team. It's a lot of motivation for the remaining races of this year and, for sure, a big boost for next year's motivation."

Although Vettel closed on the Ferrari, a combination of Alonso's defence and unhelpful backmarkers denied the champion-elect a shot at retaking second place.

"It was difficult to keep him behind as, at that part of the race, he was quicker than us," the Spaniard conceded, "I tried to defend the position in braking for the last corners, and into the first corner as well, where the DRS was active. After we had done this job, we saw we were catching Jenson a little bit, so we tried in the last couple of laps. But, as we saw later on, Jenson was taking care about tyres, about his car, so it was impossible to fight for victory this time.

"But we started fifth and, when you start fifth, you have to recover through the race to arrive two seconds behind the leader. If you start second or third, that gap is already done maybe ten laps before the end."

Asked whether he was disappointed at losing his record to Vettel, however, Alonso threw down a gauntlet to the young pretender.

"I think now we need to see who is the youngest three-time world champion," he quipped.


Tagged as: Ferrari , Fernando Alonso , Japan

Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
09.10.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia leads Lewis Hamilton (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26
09.10.2011- Race, Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia leads Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
09.10.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia overtakes Felipe Massa (BRA), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
09.10.2011- Race, Jenson Button (GBR), McLaren  Mercedes, MP4-26 race winner, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia 2nd position and Sebastian Vettel (GER), Red Bull Racing, RB7, 2011 F1 Champion and 3rd position in the race
07.10.2011- Friday Practice 2, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia
09.10.2011- Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP), Scuderia Ferrari, F-150 Italia 3rd position
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016, Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid race winner and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, 2nd place Nico Rosberg (GER) Mercedes AMG F1 W07 Hybrid and Champion 2016 and 3rd place Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 and Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race,Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H  leads Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12
27.11.2016 - Race, Daniel Ricciardo (AUS) Red Bull Racing RB12 leads Sebastian Vettel (GER) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H

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Calvin _

October 10, 2011 3:26 PM

Yes, but to with the Constructors Title you need a second car up there collecting significant points, not loitering around trying to destroy some elses race! The mentality there is all wrong.



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