Vettel takes pole, Alonso upbeat
Sun, 28 Oct 2012 1:20p.m.
Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso remains upbeat about his Formula One championship hopes despite seeing his title rival Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull take pole position for the Indian Grand Prix.
Vettel is in superb form, having won three consecutive races, but Alonso felt the gap at race pace on Sunday will be less than qualifying and that they hoped to finish in front of their rivals at the Buddh International Circuit.
"I still think that we can take some good points tomorrow, hopefully more points than Sebastian, and then be more competitive in the next few races," Alonso says. "The first target is to finish in front of them tomorrow and I think we have a chance to do it. It is more challenging for us now, but I remain 100 per cent confident that we'll fight for this championship and we'll win it."
Throughout the season, Ferrari had performed better with the higher fuel loads and worn tires during a race than they had on light fuel and fresh rubber of qualifying.
"They've got the fastest cars at the moment, so they are first and second. They're dominant as a team, but on Sundays, normally our pace improves a little bit and we saw in South Korea that we were putting a little pressure, especially on Webber," Alonso says.
"I'm neither concerned nor demotivated, because I know that things can change very quickly and that high spirits on Saturday can easily turn to sadness on Sunday. I'm definitely not the sort to give up and that's my real advantage."
The Spaniard had faith that the team's performance would improve with some major upgrades to come for the remaining three races in Abu Dhabi, the United States and Brazil.
"We're improving our car and making it faster, especially in this race, though not so much in the last few grand prix. But you have to put something big in your car to make it the best. What we did in New Delhi was a small upgrade, we are waiting for some new parts to come in the coming races. Red Bull is very dominant at the moment but hopefully we can be close to them," Alonso says.
The race for this year's championship has virtually narrowed down to Vettel (215 points) and Alonso (209) with Kimi Rakkonen of Lotus a distant third on 167.
Meanwhile, there was some good news off the track for Ferrari as it was found to be within the sport's rules by displaying the Italian navy flag on its car this weekend. The flag is a show of solidarity for two Italian sailors who are being held in India awaiting trial for the killing of two Indian fishermen who were mistaken for pirates. Italy believes they should be allowed to return home, claiming the incident was in international waters where navy crew were escorting a cargo ship.
F1 officials had deferred to the local motorsports authority to make a ruling on Ferrari's action, and on Saturday, the Federation of Motor Sports Clubs of India agreed with the Italian team.
FMSCI president Vicky Chandhok said in a statement that Ferrari had not meant the flag to be a political statement and said "carrying their national navy flag will not have any effect on the case pending before the Indian courts."
India's external affairs ministry had on Saturday expressed its unhappiness at Ferrari's move, saying it was outside the spirit of sports.
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