Fernando Alonso did what he does best by slugging his way from sixth on the grid to second place on the podium after a tense and hard fought Canadian Grand Prix, the Ferrari driver making the most of a car which was clearly not the pick of the bunch. He spoke afterwards.
You said that you thought you may have a chance to come from sixth position to hopefully get a win here, I was saying ‘how’s he going to try and do that?’ And you nearly did it. Magic, magic tenacious drive.
Fernando Alonso: Yesterday obviously we didn’t have a good qualifying, I didn’t put the lap together and also the conditions didn’t help but we knew that the pace in dry conditions of the car on Friday was good, so we had some hopes. Obviously we are fighting with top drivers and I have a very good fight with Mark, with Nico, with Lewis at the end. And it’s not easy. Even if you have a little bit more pace, they are super-talented ones and it was difficult race. But at the end I think the second place has a victory taste because we scored some good points after a very difficult weekend.
You had some great battles and it took quite a while to get past Lewis. Was it just the speed coming out of the hairpin? It took quite a while, even with DRS.
FA: I think it was the pace difference was very, very small. With other battles we did maybe I was a little bit more fast, a little bit faster than the people I was catching. With Lewis we were really very close on the pace and there was some moments going out of turn eight to see who had the detection point and then in turn 10 the same thing, at the last chicane, so there was some action there. But it was nice to have these battles, particularly this race with so talented drivers, so intelligent drivers, that, you know, you fight wheel-to-wheel at 315km/h and you feel safe. You feel you are racing and you are competing. It can go your way or it can go the other way, but this is real racing. So, very happy to see this back after Monaco. It’s a little bit different.
How much did qualifying hurt you because starting sixth getting to second was a big race. Could you have done better, do you think, if you had started on the first or second row?
FA: I don’t know really. I think you will never know. Qualifying is qualifying and it’s better to be on pole position but I think the last pole position in dry conditions was September 2010 so it’s not the strong point of the team. On Sunday, we normally pick up the pace a little bit about which we are happy because the points are gained on Sunday, but it’s true that at some races, if you start too far behind, it’s difficult to recover, but we will try to improve next time.
In Monte Carlo we talked to one another and you were very confident for Montreal, and you said to me ‘I’m going to be on the podium.’ Congratulations, and I would like you to say something to the Italian community here because there’s a very very big Italian community.
FA: In Monaco we were not competitive for different reasons. In a way, we were not competitive here on Saturday, maybe for the same reasons, for the conditions that we need to do a better job compared to the others. In some conditions we are not competitive enough, so we need to work on that. And then for the Italian people here in Montreal, I think they support Ferrari all the time, they enjoy Formula One. You see the atmosphere in this race is very very unique, not only here on the track but from the time you land at the airport, you see a very enthusiastic people about this race. You put the TV on, they are talking about the meteo for the Grand Prix. They’re talking about the qualifying, the practice, the shops on the streets are full of flags, Ferrari flags etc, so it’s very nice to race here. We didn’t give them a win today but I think we put on a good show for everybody and hopefully we give a win for them in the next one when they are watching TV.
Are you worried for the British Grand Prix, with your pace in qualifying because normally it’s cold weather; do you believe you can be OK in Silverstone?
FA: I believe so. I think it’s a different circuit, completely different asphalt, generating a lot of stress in the tyre: Silverstone, Nurburgring compared with very easy tracks on tyres like Monaco, Canada where you are looking for one or two stops. Silverstone will be different, I think. We know that the temperature is not helping us at the moment, but we cannot say anything because there are other people going very fast in those conditions, so it’s up to us to improve. We have some ideas and hopefully at Silverstone we can improve on that.
When do things started getting desperate? Seb seems to be gaining points at every race now and you’re falling further and further behind. When do you really have to start winning?
FA: I think we are eighty or eight-five points behind. It will be a very critical situation, which is more than three races. In the past – I touched on this in Australia or Malaysia – in the last six or eight years, there were people recovering from more than 30 points on the old points, which is three races so it’s 75 or 80 points. So hopefully we’re going to arrive to that number. (FIA)