Alonso: It wasn’t easy because we were not quickest in dry conditions
22 July, 2012
Jul.22 (FIA) Fernando Alonso did not make single mistake in the two hours of the German Grand Prix, as his Ferrari F2012 was relentlessly pursued by Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button around Hockenheim. The Spaniard went on to notch up his third win of the season, extend his world championship points lead and add another great race weekend tale to his legend. He spoke at the post race press conference.
Your third win, what do you think of a Spaniard in an Italian car, to win the German Grand Prix in front of all these German people here?
Fernando Alonso: OK, so I’m not a fan of politics so much but it is true that the situation is not great in Spain but it is fun to drive an Italian car – designed by a Greek man – it’s good to win here. But, we enjoyed the race. We were competitive yesterday in wet conditions and today, starting on pole was, I think, the key factor, because it was difficult to overtake. We were maybe not the fastest but we keep the position.
You were under pressure the whole time, I think the biggest lead you had was two seconds. How tough a race was it?
FA: It was tough, definitely, I don’t think it was an easy race because maybe we were not the quickest on dry conditions. But we were quite competitive, enough to maintain the lead. Also it was some good calls by the team in terms of strategy in the first stop and then obviously in the second stop when Jenson pits, we have to react, Sebastian and me, and up to that point I knew it was a long race, 27 laps to the end with Jenson putting a lot of pressure, but I don’t know, the car was feeling good, feeling good on traction and top speed, so it was enough to keep the lead into Turn Six. And then after that it is not possible to overtake in the last sector, so you try to control the tyres and, a little bit the race.
How much of a mystery where the tyres?
FA: It was a question mark, I think, for everybody because we didn’t test on Friday enough laps to understand the tyres, also last year it was at the Nürburgring so the first time for Pirelli in this asphalt. The predictions, more or less, were right; we were thinking to do two stops and at the end it was two stops. The lap, I think, it [was] very flexible. It depends on when the others stop, especially if you are in the lead, because you just need to cover them. But yeah, it was not big surprises, degradation was quite low, as suspected and it was fine.
It looks like a perfect weekend; in qualifying you set your 22nd pole and today it’s your 30th victory in Formula One. Did you really expect this much?
FA: I think before coming here we were not sure about the performance of the car. It’s true that we were OK in Valencia, but Red Bull was quicker than anybody there but we took advantage of the mechanical problem that Sebastian had in Valencia and we won the race there. In Silverstone we were OK in wet conditions but a little bit slower than Red Bull in dry conditions and Mark won the race and he deserved it, because he was the quickest. Yesterday, OK, we set pole in wet conditions again which seems to suit our car but in the dry, we again saw that we are still not the quickest. Sebastian and Jenson put a lot of pressure on us, also Hamilton was extremely quick but he had some problems in the race.
Don’t you think it was risky to fight Hamilton as he was already lapped?
FA: For me, yes, I didn’t feel any risk to be honest. I knew that if Lewis was close enough and using the DRS and trying to overtake, going for it, I had a problem to leave the space and I knew that he was not in the race, so we didn’t want to risk anything. For me, it was a good position to have Hamilton between me and Sebastian because we were approaching the pit stop time and having Hamilton there meant that Hamilton was around a second behind you and Sebastian was another second or 1.5s behind Lewis, so this 2.5s to Sebastian was very good, approaching the pit stop time so I tried to keep Lewis behind.
At the end of the race were you confident that you could keep the pace and not suffer a repeat of Silverstone when you lost the race in the last six laps?
FA: Yeah, I was more confident. At Silverstone, the problem was that we were with different tyres so we knew that in the last stint we would have a tough time coming because we were forced to put on the option tyre which we thought was the less performing tyre and for sure Webber was a little bit quicker on that. The stint here…stopping on the same lap as the others and putting on the same type of tyre, I was much more confident.
Although there is still half of the championship to go, do you think the team and yourself have established the basis for your third world title?
It’s halfway through the season; we made a very good recovery when you think of where we started in the Jerez test where we were maybe two seconds off the pace. In Australia we were 1.6s in Q2 and now we are very happy with the points that we have achieved in the first half but it means nothing, because there are still another ten races in which we need to improve the car. We need to be consistent and we need to keep finishing all the races. One or two drivers always don’t finish the race because of mechanical problems or incidents or something, so we need to avoid these problems.
Looking back at the last couple of races, and this one now as well, what are you feeling about next weekend?
FA: Well, it’s going to be tight again. It’s a very short circuit in Hungary again, and as we saw this year, in two or three tenths there are eight, nine cars. In Hungary we need to make a perfect preparation again, a perfect qualifying, because you can be starting in 12th or 13th if you make a little mistake, so we need to approach the race in the same way we did the last couple of races, try to maximise what we have in Hungary and hopefully bring in some new parts that can help us in that circuit.
It’s a circuit where you have a little history, your first F1 win was there?
Is it a circuit that will also suit Ferrari?
FA: I think so. I think at the moment the car seems OK in all areas, there is not weak points, as maybe we had at the beginning of the season, that we were suffering a little bit on traction and top speed. Now I think that we are OK on that. In Hungary I think with these slow speed corners, traction etc., I don’t see any problem with the car and we should be competitive there.
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