F1 »

Alonso: More milliseconds in qualifying and....


Fernando Alonso has admitted that he was lucky to be in position to take his second win of the year at the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday, claiming that small differences in qualifying and the race could have produced a very different story.

The Spaniard took advantage of the Lewis Hamilton-inspired melee at turn one to jump into second place, and then combined good race pace with a strategic request to his Renault pit crew to run with, and then pass, early leader Robert Kubica. However, he revealed that his good fortune had started even before race day.

Having been unlucky in qualifying in Singapore - albeit misfortune that he eventually used to his advantage when a radical gameplan coincided with the appearance of the safety car - Alonso admitted that the merest slip-up on his qualifying lap at Fuji could have led to a different outcome on race day. From fourth on the grid, however, he also had the good fortune to make the right moves at the start and avoid the chaos that removed Hamilton, Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen from immediate contention.

"Winning is never easy, they are always a combination of things," he explained, "Obviously, we were lucky to be in fourth place [in qualifying] because, with some milliseconds, we would have been fifth or sixth and maybe the race was very different.

"And then the first corner was the key part of the race because the McLarens and the Ferraris were off [the track] at turn one. After that, my race was with Robert. At this moment, I don't think the BMW is maybe as quick as before, but to have to beat Robert is maybe not easy."

Like Kubica, Alonso admitted to making a mistake in the rush to turn one but, unlike Hamilton and co, he wasn't to pay too heavy a price for it.

"The start was probably the most exciting part of the race, for sure," he conceded, "I saw the people in front of me going quite aggressively into turn one, and I, myself, locked the front tyres and went a little bit wide. But I think it surprised us in a way as, with the cold temperatures, most of us started with the prime tyres and then we locked the tyres and everybody went long. I took the benefit of that and put myself behind Robert and, from that point, the race was a little bit easier."

Although he could run behind Kubica quite comfortably, Alonso knew that he would need help to get past the Pole, and requested that his crew made his second stint shorter than originally planned, even if it would mean running the softer 'option' tyre for longer than intended.

"When I saw the action in front me [at turn one], everybody going straight, I backed off a little bit and Robert overtook me," the double world champion admitted, "After that, I was trying not to lose too much of a gap to Robert in the first stint.



Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber.F1.08, Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28, Japanese F1, Fuji, 10th-12th, October, 2008
French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, Pirelli 2017 tyre test [Credit: Pirelli]
27.11.2016 - Race, Marcus Ericsson (SUE) Sauber C34 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Esteban Gutierrez (MEX) Haas F1 Team VF-16
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 off trach and Max Verstappen (NED) Red Bull Racing RB12 spins
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Felipe Massa (BRA) Williams FW38 and Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 and Pascal Wehrlein (GER) Manor Racing MRT05
27.11.2016 - Race, Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16 leads Jenson Button (GBR)  McLaren Honda MP4-31
27.11.2016 - Race, Start of the race, Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Valtteri Bottas (FIN) Williams FW38
27.11.2016 - Race, Luis Fernando Ramos (BRA), Journalist
27.11.2016 - Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Honda MP4-31 and Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Scuderia Ferrari SF16-H
27.11.2016 - Kevin Magnussen (DEN) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16
27.11.2016 - Jolyon Palmer (GBR) Renault Sport F1 Team RS16

Join the conversation - Add your comment

Please login or register before adding your comments.

Although the administrators and moderators of this website will attempt to keep all objectionable comments off these pages, it is impossible for us to review all messages. All messages express the views of the poster, and neither Crash Media Group nor Crash.Net will be held responsible for the content of any message. We do not vouch for or warrant the accuracy, completeness or usefulness of any message, and are not responsible for the contents of any message. If you find a message objectionable, please contact us and inform us of the problem or use the [report] function next to the offending post. Any message that does not conform with the policy of this service can be edited or removed with immediate effect.


ferret .

October 14, 2008 8:16 PM

Well i think its good Fernando won again! Think about it! Five different constructors have won a race this season and also we have have seven different drivers winning races sofar this season. It has been a very long time since that has happend. Well done Fernando Alonso! :)

Brendan - Unregistered

October 14, 2008 2:33 PM

what are u on about stephen. get real man oh no by your description of a 'man' u clearly are not one. this hate towards great pilots like lewis and fernando is very childish.



© 1999 - 2016 Crash Media Group

The total or partial reproduction of text, photographs or illustrations is not permitted in any form.