Fernando Alonso has admitted that he will be looking to limit the damage done by his fifth place on the grid after qualifying for the United States Grand Prix broke his run of pole positions.

Having barely been in contention over the weekend in practice, early on Alonso did not appear to have the scintillating pace of his Ferrari rivals and so it proved in the final shootout when the Spaniard could only manage the fifth fastest time, some 1.6secs behind Michael Schumacher and even half a second off from team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella.

Indeed, the championship leader was complaining that drastic understeer was the reason for his lack of pace, admitting that whatever the Renault team tried they could not cure it.

"I did the maximum possible today. The car was understeering this morning and we worked to try and correct it during practice. In the end, we were adding front wing during qualifying as well to get a better balance, but it was still difficult to drive and costing me time."

Seemingly conceding that victory will go Ferrari's way, Alonso has merely targeted a podium finish for the race in order to ensure his championship lead is not damaged by much.

"The grand prix tomorrow will be a long one, so hopefully the strategy will work well for us and help me gain positions. I will be aiming for the podium, and trying to limit the damage in the championship."

Nonetheless, Pat Symonds insists that the expected changes in temperatures could well move the track towards Alonso, although he also hinted that in order to counter punch Ferrari's speed, they may have chosen a more aggressive strategy for the race.

"It seemed obvious after practice this morning that we would not be able to race Ferrari this weekend, and it would have been wrong to compromise our race strategy by going for the front row today.

"We were not able to get rid of the understeer on Fernando's car but although this has compromised his performance today, things may turn in his favour tomorrow with track temperatures expected to be in the high 40s."

 

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