Fernando Alonso doesn’t believe he has a competitive enough car to challenge for victory in tomorrow’s Belgian Grand Prix after qualifying sixth. The Spaniard will move up to fifth courtesy of Pastor Maldonado’s grid penalty and with an eye on protecting his championship lead, Alonso admits he will be delighted to finish where he starts with most of his title rivals behind him on the grid.
“This afternoon’s sixth place matches our average for this year’s qualifying sessions, which is 6.08 to be precise, therefore we shouldn’t be too surprised at this result. Usually, on Sunday we go better than on Saturday, therefore we can be reasonably confident about the race, especially in light of the fact that a lot of my closest rivals start behind me, while another one, Kimi is not too far in front. If this result could be repeated tomorrow, honestly I’d sign for it now! Our aim is the podium, but I think a win is not within our grasp.”
“It’s true it is a very open race, partly because overtaking is relatively straightforward on this track. The fact we don’t have data on tyre life is not penalising, as we are all in the same situation. Anyway, we know both compounds well so I don’t expect any problems on this front. More significantly, clearly the fact we could not run much yesterday meant we could not optimise various aspects of the car, but in this case too, everyone is in the same boat. In fact, that could explain the difference in performance between drivers from the same team. The updates we introduced brought a benefit in terms of top speed, which is positive, also for Monza, where we race in a few days time. The championship is very close and if you don’t do everything perfectly, you find yourself down the back. That’s why the smallest things matter and we always try to be super concentrated on the very smallest detail.”
Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa had a tough afternoon with fourteenth the end result but the Brazilian is keeping a positive frame of mind heading into tomorrow’s race.
“Already this morning, I was struggling a lot in the second sector and, after the third free practice session, we made some changes to the configuration of the car, which unfortunately, did not change the situation much. I can’t manage to drive properly in that part of the track. I can feel the car sliding in the corners because of a lack of aerodynamic downforce. Fernando also seemed to be suffering in some parts of the track, but clearly less so than me. In the first and third sectors however, I was competitive, both in absolute terms and when compared to my team-mate. Furthermore, precisely because of the difficulty I had in T2, I was a bit bothered about tyre degradation, especially as we had not managed to acquire date on their behaviour over a long run because of yesterday’s bad weather. I definitely can’t be happy with today, but now the important thing is to concentrate on the race. Everything could still happen, especially on a track where overtaking is possible. On top of that, there are so many unknowns relating to the behaviour of the car so we cannot rule out any surprises.”