Fernando Alonso kept himself in the frame for the World Championship by finishing second in Monza, and while he lost another seven points to winner Sebastian Vettel, he has now pulled clear of Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen.
“I think the weekend we took the maximum from the car,” said Alonso. “Practice was OK, and we learnt some good information Friday. Saturday it was very good, both cars in the top five. I think the last time was Malaysia this year, so a very, very long time, so we were very, very happy.
“Today, being in the podium again, it’s a fantastic feeling here in Monza. The fourth year that I drove for Ferrari, four times that I was in the podium, and every year is something amazing, something unique again, to be there in that moment.
“And we did the maximum and nearly a perfect weekend. We didn’t close the gap in the championship, which is obviously the goal every weekend but when Sebastian and Red Bull dominate Friday, Saturday and Sunday and they win the race we have to congratulate them. They were the best all through the weekend, and we need to do hopefully a better job next time, but from what we had this weekend I think we did the maximum. So we are extremely happy.”
Nevertheless, Alonso accepts that his title hopes are getting slimmer.
“Well, I think we need to be realistic about the championship now there’s a very big gap. We don’t have enough races and probably we don’t have the speed right now to win some consecutive races and hope to reduce the gap just by pace. We need to be lucky and we need to have some DNFs from Sebastian or something to win the championship. With the races left and the points disadvantage, it’s hard, but in a way, it was exactly the same last year.
“We could only lose the championship, with 41 points advantage in front of Sebastian after the Monza race. It was difficult for him to catch up and so it was maybe up to us. We didn’t complete the job and we had a DNF in Suzuka, and some other problems. There’s still a long way to go; we will try until the last race to be as good as we can and score as many points as possible, and then in Brazil we will see how many points we have compared to him.”
Alonso says he’s open-minded about the car’s potential form in the next race in Singapore.
“Obviously we were expecting a lot from Monza, and it was a very good Monza. It’s true that we didn’t win the race, because Red Bull and Sebastian did an even better job and they were very, very good but in our level of competitiveness that we had this year, Monza is one of the best weekends, as we expected before.
“We came from Silverstone, from Nurburgring, from Hungary where we had Red Bull in front of us, Lotus in front of us, Mercedes in front of us and some other cars sometimes, so here in Monza we were able to beat all those cars and fight for the wins, so if we can repeat this good performance in Singapore, we hope so but this will be the real test for us. We made some changes in the car, they seemed to be positive in Spa, seem to be good and positive in Monza, but when we reach the maximum level of downforce in Singapore, like we had in Hungary, we need to check.
“If we still have Mercedes in front, Lotus in front and some other teams, we will be more or less the same as in Hungary and we don’t want to be. I think we prepare the car and we prepare everything to make a step forward and in Singapore hopefully we can see it.”