No pressure, but extra focus for Alonso, Ferrari
13 May 2013
Fernando Alonso insists that he felt no extra pressure to succeed in front of his home fans on Sunday, but revealed that the Ferrari team was putting even greater effort into the middle part of the season, having lost valuable ground in the championship.
The Spaniard claimed only his second win on Spanish soil – and his first for seven years – as Ferrari produced the perfect race strategy to put two drivers onto the podium in Barcelona, but, despite admitting that he received a lift from the crowd, Alonso insisted that there was no more pressure to perform than usual.
“Definitely, it was a fantastic emotion and it really helped,” he acknowledged, ”You feel the support from everybody, every single member of the team taking care of every detail because we want to do well here, in front of our fans, with so many people supporting Ferrari.
“It's very special winning at home. It doesn't matter how many times you can do it, how many you repeat it, it's always like starting from zero and you have again very emotional last laps, very long last laps, because you obviously want to finish as soon as possible.”
With no points in Malaysia and only four from a difficult race in Bahrain, Alonso went into the weekend trailing reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel by 30 points, but insisted that he did not feel under any pressure to pull a result out of the hat before his title chances slipped away.
“Not extra pressure but it's true that we need some good races - and I will feel more or less the same in Monaco,” he claimed, “We must take extra care for the next races, in terms of possible mechanical issues, driver errors, strategy mistakes, whatever. All these things happen sometimes in races, but I think all the team and I are extra focused now on this part of the championship, because we felt we lost too many points with some things that we didn't do right. We must put everything together and avoid any more mistakes, [and] I don't think it will be any different in Monaco or in Canada.”
With Vettel only able to come home in fourth position, Alonso's win allowed him to trim 13 points from his rival's advantage, but he insisted that it was too early to start at a possible championship.
“Nothing has really changed,” he pointed out, “We know that we have had five races only, with some up and downs. Some races, we had a good race with no problems and we more or less finished on the podium in all of them. Some races, we had some mistakes, and some mechanical problems as well that we don't want to repeat.
“We know that we have a car to fight at the front and, if we do well, we can fight for the championship. I'm extremely happy for the team to have both cars on the podium after a difficult qualifying, but we knew we had the pace on the long runs and we wanted to have some clear air to exploit this potential in the car. Everything worked perfect – and, hopefully, this is not a one-off!”
Despite not wanting to get too deep into consideration of his chances this year, Alonso did admit that, for the first time in his four years at Maranello, he now had a car that was a true contender for the crown.
“Probably, yes, in terms of performance of the car,” he agreed, “We should have won the championship, I believe, in 2010. We arrived in Abu Dhabi ahead of Sebastian [but] we lost there [and there's] nothing we can change now. Last year, maybe, we didn't deserve it because we were one second off the pace but, even with that, we manage to fight until Brazil.
“This year, we have in our hands a package that maybe is not the fastest, but we are working on that. Definitely, on Sundays, it's a very competitive team package, let's say. We are not the quickest over one lap, maybe we don't set the fastest time in the race, but we have fantastic strategy people, fantastic pit-stops, starts, tyre degradation….
“We have many ingredients to have a competitive car to fight for the championship. In the four years at Ferrari, maybe it's true that this is the one we feel more confident with, but we are still not happy with the performance of the car and we want to have a good and aggressive development programme for the next few races.”