9 September 2013
Italian Grand Prix: ‘Opportunist’ Ferrari needs a little luck
Fernando Alonso may still retain F1 title ambitions, but his Ferrari team boss admits that the Spaniard will need a little luck to beat Sebastian Vettel.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali has hailed his squad's fighting spirit as it led the challenge to Red Bull at the Italian Grand Prix, but conceded that it now needs some good fortune if it is to bring home the world championship.
While Fernando Alonso was battling through to second place from fifth on the grid, and Felipe Massa picked up fourth place to raise the Scuderia above Mercedes in the constructors' table, Sebastian Vettel repeated his Belgian Grand Prix triumph to move 53 points clear in the championship race.
“Today, we fought with all the means at our disposal to try and stick with the race leader but, given Vettel's performance, in the end we could not have done better than this,” Domenicali said, “We know we are up against very strong opponents, but I'm pleased to have seen Ferrari run competitively, being the only team that tried to put Red Bull under pressure.
“The gap in the drivers' classification has grown but, in the constructors' [standings], we have managed to move up to second place. On top of that, there were four Ferrari engines in the top seven at the finish line, which is a very impressive result. Now we must maintain this current form and be ready to make the most of whatever opportunities arise, counting on reliability – which, from now to the end of the season, will play an important role - while also hoping for a bit of a good luck.”
The Scuderia tried to chance its arm during the pit-stop window at Monza, electing to run Alonso deeper into the race in an effort to close, if not eliminate, Vettel's advantage, but the move did not pay off as the German enjoyed a comfortable lead into the closing stages.
“We knew that, on the hard tyres, our performance deficit would be higher than on the mediums, so we tried to exploit the fresher tyres for the final stages of the race,” technical director Pat Fry explained, “When Vettel came in, Fernando's times were very competitive and that's why we tried to delay our stop.”
While Fry described Alonso's move on Mark Webber at the Roggia chicane as 'the mark of a true champion', Domenicali praised the Spaniard's 'tenacity' but insisted that the first of the 'flyaways' could prove crucial to his championship chances.
“Fernando drove an impeccable race, during which he managed the pressure from Webber, but, looking ahead, Singapore will be important because it will reveal our level of competitiveness on a high downforce circuit,” he noted, “The outcome of that grand prix will also be decisive in helping us draw conclusions linked to the gradual changeover of our resources to the 2014 project. While we still have a mathematical chance this year, we will not slacken our efforts one iota.
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