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Alonso fears Ferrari is pushing its luck
23 September 2012
Fernando Alonso is now 29pts ahead of Sebastian Vettel in the F1 drivers world championship, but the Ferrari driver is all too aware that things could have been a lot closer if Lewis Hamilton hadn't retired early in the 2012 F1 Singapore Grand Prix on Sunday.
"Today, we pulled out an advantage over three of our four main competitors, which is positive. In the end it went well," he said, clearly relieved. "But we definitely can't go on like this. It can't always be the case that my closest rival retires."
He pointed out that this had now happened two races in succession, and that Ferrari couldn't continue to ride its luck and hope that everything would work out as well as it had up to now.
"We can't think of carrying on to the end of the season with qualifying sessions like yesterday's, when our performance was almost a second off the best," he pointed out. "On track we manage to make the most of what we have, making few or no mistakes, thanks to great work from the team: for that alone we deserve to be where we are in the classification."
Alonso agreed that the characteristics of the Marina Bay track made it perhaps the most problematic circuit for the Ferrari F2012, but added: "We will find partially similar characteristics in Korea and Abu Dhabi, but I hope that by the time we get there, we will have found a way of improving the car."
As for the race itself, he admitted that he hadn't got the best of starts and had been forced to pit earlier than planned because of tyre degradation and that this had put him back out in traffic. Ultimately he felt that the safety cars worked in favour of Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button but that he himself had made it home in third place in relative comfort.
"It was a very tough race physically, definitely the most tiring of the whole season," he said. "Three hundred odd kilometres in this heat and such high humidity is very stressful."
Alonso's team mate Felipe Massa suffered a puncture on the first lap which forced him into an unscheduled pit stop, putting him well off the pace from early on although the two safety car periods closed up the field again and allowed him the chance to fight his way back to eighth place.
"There's regret for what happened at the first corner, because without the puncture I could certainly have finished a lot closer to Fernando which would have been important for both championships," said Massa. "Luckily, the two Safety Cars brought the pack together again," he continued, even though it had left him out on a far longer final stint on the supersoft option tyres than the team had planned.
One of the highlights of the Grand Prix was Massa's battle for position with fellow Brazilian Bruno Senna in the Williams, which nearly ended in tears for both drivers. Massa was in no doubt about who had been in the wrong and pushed things dangerously far in that encounter.
"The move on Senna? I think the rules are very clear and one just has to respect them: I was already alongside him and he had to leave me room, but instead he squeezed me into the wall," he said.
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