31 October 2011
Alonso: Second in points not a priority
Fernando Alonso has joined rivals in claiming that finishing as runner-up to Sebastian Vettel is not important.
With Sebastian Vettel having wrapped up the 2011 F1 drivers' championship, none of his pursuers appear concerned about finishing as runner-up, even if their performances on track show no sign of relenting.
Lewis Hamilton, Jenson Button and Mark Webber have already declared that they aren't bothered whether they finish second in points, and Alonso joined them after the inaugural Indian Grand Prix, admitting that it didn't matter where he ended the year, even though he would still be chasing victories on a Sunday afternoon. The Spaniard currently sits third overall, sandwiched between Button and Webber, and acknowledges that it is still possible to overhaul the McLaren man with decent results in the Abu Dhabi and Brazilian grands prix, but insists that he will not take finishing as runner-up to Vettel as one of the key memories of 2011.
"It's perfectly possible, that's for sure, because there are 50 points available and, as we said a couple of races ago, okay, finishing second is maybe better than finishing fifth," he commented after completing the podium in India, "We are four drivers all together - Hamilton, Jenson, Mark and me - but it's not a big priority for us. If I finish second, it's okay, if I finish fourth, it's okay. I will not remember the 2011 season if I finish second or third.
"I will probably remember the win in Silverstone and a couple of nice starts and a couple of nice races, but the position of the championship, once you are no longer in the hunt for the world championship win, the other positions are less relevant. I think we will try to do two last good races, try to be on the podium if we can, which is always a good feeling, taste the champagne and take the trophy after a hard weekend, as it was this one."
With Ferrari having slipped back behind Red Bull and McLaren as the third best team in the field, Alonso was quick to praise the Scuderia for getting him back onto the podium at Buddh International, even if its main focus is now on next year.
"Our priority will be 2012 - car, team, me - [but] I think I have to congratulate the team, as they did a fantastic job to maximise the potential we have in our hands now," he commented, "We know that the car is not as competitive as it was a couple of months ago, but we are still fighting for podiums. Today we had a problem on the front wing on the lap to the grid, twenty minutes before the start, and they worked until the last minute just to put it all together. They did it perfectly right and the car was very well balanced all through the races. Everyone is doing 100 per cent to maximise the potential and the podiums are very welcome."
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