Alonso: The Ferrari team did the maximum
9 May, 2010
May.9 (YF1) Before the race not even Fernando Alonso would have predicted that he would finish second in his home Spanish Grand Prix at Circuit de Catalunya. At one stage the Ferrari driver looked set for fourth place, yet the race took a series of twists that engineered the darling of Spain to be on the Barcelona podium in front of his adoring fans. Alonso was spoke at the post race press conference.
It looked like it might have been fourth place at one point but it ended up being second. I guess that proves it is never over until it is over. How do you feel about your performance this weekend and the team’s?
Fernando Alonso: Well, now I feel extremely happy after the result today. When you gain two positions in the last part of the race and unexpected positions as well it feels great and you have a fantastic feeling right now. Overall the weekend has been so-so for us. I think in terms of results fantastic weekend for us. Fourth in qualifying with a good performance I think and second in the race is fantastic for the team but as I said we need to improve. We know that. I think we saw this weekend we need to improve especially in some areas of the car to be close to Red Bull especially in qualifying. I think we learn some things this weekend. We work again to maximise out potential. Sometimes we know we will be first, sometimes fifth, sometimes we will be first hopefully, so as much as we do our 100 per cent every weekend we are happy with the job, so we need to be satisfied with today’s race.
You seemed to be pushing really hard on that first stint. Did you think you could get Lewis?
Fernando: Not really. Maybe it was too optimistic at that time. I was trying. First part of the second stint I took it a bit easy and as I knew I needed to do 50 laps with that set of tyres, so the first 10 laps I just controlled the balance of the car a bit and I didn’t want t push the tyres too hard. Then I did maximum attack for 10 or 15 laps just to close the gap to Sebastian. Sometimes I closed to 10, sometimes I lose one, sometimes I close to three, so I was catching him like half-a-second every 20 laps. That was not enough to get to him and then to overtake the car in front, so I knew it was pretty difficult to get there. I just controlled and I backed off a bit the revs and brought the car back home.
It must be nice to get the points for second place?
Fernando: Yeah, absolutely. When you recover some positions in the last laps unexpectedly it feels great. It tastes better than even an overtaking manoeuvre I think. The one with Sebastian I saw some problems with his car in the lap he pitted and then I was expecting him to come back very quickly on the track in the last part with the soft tyres but the team informed me he had some problems and he was running slow, so the third place was more or less in the pocket but then sure three or four laps before the end when I saw the problem with the McLaren it was another position just for free, so it was very welcome.
Are you now achieving the average you want for the championship?
Fernando: For the championship, I’m happy with this position, but as I said before, we need four or five podiums in a row. With one podium and then another three races with mistakes there is not enough to win the championship but I think we understand, we know the problems, we know the mistakes we made at the beginning of the championship and we arrived in Barcelona with a very good approach, super Ferrari team I think this weekend with no mistakes at all: preparing for qualifying in practice in a good way, at the maximum of our potential in qualifying and a very solid race. Sometimes we know that we will be third, sometimes we know we will be fifth, sometimes we can maybe win the race, but we need to do our maximum and today or this weekend all the Ferrari team did the maximum so we are extremely happy with our job and with all the guys, the mechanics, the engineers, the guys in the factory to bring here a lot of modifications on the car. It is thanks to those I am second today.
You said your team needs to work specifically in some areas of the car, which suggests you know exactly what you have to do, and also, you are three points behind the leader of the championship, in spite of all the problems you have experienced this weekend. Can you talk to us about these two subjects?
Fernando: Well, regarding the improvements on the car, there is a very aggressive plan of developing the car with some good gains and good improvements to come in the next races, so we are very optimistic on that. The championship is long. There will be some circuits where we will be closer to Red Bull and some circuits like this weekend where we know it’s going to be more difficult but overall, for the 19 races, I think we have a package, a car that can fight for the World Championship which is the main goal. We know the areas which will give aerodynamic improvements. Basically, I think, we saw this weekend here in Barcelona how important the aerodynamics of the car are and the maximum downforce and we were struggling a little bit more than we wanted. Nothing new. As for the championship, I don’t know how many points I am behind Jenson now, three? It’s just a very early part of the championship. Better to be in the first three or four positions than to be eighth or ninth in the championship for sure but I think you need the consistency, you need good results all through the year, but as you said, we had two engine problems, one gearbox problem, one jumped start and some chaotic races and we are three points behind the leaders, so we are happy.