Alonso: Still many points on the table and I’m still very optimistic

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Ferrari celebrates on the podium. Formula One World Championship, Rd17, Indian Grand Prix, Buddh International Circuit, Greater Noida, New Delhi, India, Race, Sunday 28 October 2012.

Fernando Alonso acknowledges the cheers after finishing second in the Indian GP

Oct.28 (FIA) Fernando Alonso never gives up and again he proved his gutsiness and tenacity with a street fighter’s race to claim second place in the Indian Grand Prix – after starting from fifth on the grid – to keep his title ambitions and those of his Ferrari team very much alive with three rounds to go. Martin Brundle was the podium interviewer:

Fernanando. Do you ever, ever give up? You’re relentless.
Fernando Alonso: No, obviously, it’s not easy at the moment to fight with Red Bull but we will never give up. I think we are happy today, we have to congratulate them, they were fantastic this weekend so well done Red Bull, well done Sebastian – but yeah, we want to be happy and we want to enjoy Brazil, not only here so I’m sure we will do it.

Bittersweet for you? You split the Red Bulls but you still lost points in the world championship.
FA: Yeah, we lost points but I think this was more or less the plan this weekend: we were not fast enough to compete against them, so we lost the minimum points, which is finishing second, so a s I said, better races will come.

How fast was your car in a straight line. Take us down to Turn Four at the start, it was incredible.
FA: Yeah, we were quite fast in a straight line but we are still missing a little bit of grip in the corners that hopefully will come in the next races. Today we have to thank the team for this fantastic straight-line speed that give us some good overtaking manoeuvres and some good action.

We had a fairly good illustration of how good your DRS is on the straight. Two extraordinary overtaking manoeuvres, particularly at the start for example with the McLarens and then later with Mark...
FA: The first lap we cannot use DRS anyway, it was just the slipstream and I was a nice run out of Turn Three and I could overtake both the McLarens. They were fighting but forgot I was there in Turn Four so they keep the fight by their own selves. We nearly touch each other but I was lucky to exit Turn Four without any damage and overtake one of them. Jenson was defending into Turn Six quite a lot so unfortunately we could overtake only one at the start. One after a few laps because I think we had a little bit more pace than Jenson and then with Mark it was a combination of KERS and DRS because I think Mark was running without KERS so that make a huge difference in terms of top speed and the overtaking was relatively easy.

You must be pretty encouraged by this second place. To be so close to Sebastian…
FA: Yes, I think it’s good news for us, seeing that we could fight Red Bull in the race. More or less we knew this. In qualifying we are not close enough to fight for pole position but in the race normally things improve for us. Today was another example but it was perfect for the strategy from the team: very good start, very good top speed and tyre management. Everything set up for the race, everything was fine and I push 120 per cent every lap so the combination was this second place.

So when you look [ahead to] Abu Dhabi, what are your hopes there?
FA: I think we need to bring some new parts to Abu Dhabi, hopefully improve a little bit more then competitiveness of the car, try to be a little bit closer to Red Bulls on Saturday and hopefully on Sunday as well. Obviously three races remaining; championship is the main target so we need to recover some points and will be nice to finish in front of Sebastian in Abu Dhabi, whatever the position it is. And if we can win the race it will be even better – but for that we need to make a step forward. At the moment we are not able to win.

You were quoted as saying that you were 100 percent certain that you will be this year’s world champion. Do you still feel that way after this race?
FA: Of course. We know that there were still 100 points yesterday and now 75 points [available]. We are 13 behind. We know that we need to improve. We are not fast enough, especially on Saturdays, as I said, but hopefully we can improve the situation in Abu Dhabi or in the USA. The races are long, and as we saw today with Mark, a KERS problem can happen to anyone, it can happen to Seb, it can happen to me and it can happen to all of us. Still many points on the table and I’m still very optimistic.

Of the three races that are left, is there any one in particular, do you think, that will favour Ferrari?
FA: I think Brazil will be quite good for us and hopefully it’s a happy grand prix.

Looking at the performance that you had during the race, and the result that you had at the end, second place, may we say that this was the best race of your season, or the best performance in the car?
FA: I think it’s difficult to say, I don’t know, it’s difficult to chose. I’m really proud and happy of the Valencia performance, or Malaysia or some other races where we [fought] all the race through, Monza etc, but definitely this one was one of the best, I think, pushing from lap one to the last lap, not risking or taking more risks that in previous races with overtakings etc, so quite happy .

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