Fernando Alonso has stressed the need to be inch-perfect if he is to win the Canadian Grand Prix this weekend, after rookie team-mate Lewis Hamilton stole a march on him in qualifying by seizing pole position for the first time in his fledgling Formula 1 career.

The reigning double world champion was actually on course to take the top spot, but an error on his final flying lap handed the advantage back to the young Brit and Alonso was forced to settle for second-best. Not that he will be happy to settle for the same thing in the race, of course, and with the word in the paddock that he is on a rather heavier fuel load than Hamilton, Sunday could be a different story altogether.

"I'm happy to be on the front row for tomorrow's race," he insisted, "and for Lewis to be on pole next to me. It's a great result for the team. On my last qualifying lap I was really going for it and was fastest in the first two sectors but went a little bit off-line at turn ten and touched the gravel. I knew immediately that I had lost about three tenths of a second and decided to back off as there was no way I could then improve my earlier time. This also helped me to save a little bit of fuel.

"There will be opportunities to pass at the pit-stop, and there are some overtaking chances at this track. We've seen how tough it has been to manage the tyres over the weekend so far, and depending on track conditions the race can be very tricky. There can be strange circumstances here, but we will try to deal with them as best as we can. We need to be 100 per cent if we want to win.

"I think here the difference in grip levels between lining up first and second is minimal and I'm looking forward to the race. I obviously want to win, but also I'm not going to win the championship this weekend so I will be sensible."

Looking further ahead to the second-leg of Formula 1's North American tour at Indianapolis in just a week's time, Alonso said he was hoping to make it a dual celebration, but acknowledged it would not be easy around a track that possesses a very particular nature and which has never been overly kind to him in the past.

"Indy is different to any other circuit on the calendar," he stated. "We spend I think 14 seconds flat-out on the long straight, and then the middle part of the circuit is quite slow and full of second-gear corners. To find a good compromise on the set-up there is impossible; you always have to do a little bit of guesswork. It's not my favourite circuit, but I really want to do well there because I know it's a very important and historical one."



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