MARCH 18, 2012
Struggling Alonso targets top five
BY TONY DODGINS
After a difficult qualifying session in which he spun out in Q2 and starts the Australian GP 12th, Fernando Alonso sees a top five finish as the extent of Ferrari's realistic ambitions for the race.
"Points will be the first priority and top five the second," he said.
TV pictures revealed the Spaniard putting his left front wheel on the grass before he spun and he confirmed that he lost the rear of the car under braking, which flicked the car left.
"Without the incident maybe it was possible to go through into Q3 but maybe not," he said, candidly reflecting Ferrari's tough start to the season and the team's lack of performance in Australia. "But maybe it's a good compromise for the race to be 12th with new tyres.
"We are obviously not quick enough, not competitive enough to fight for top places and maybe we expected that from winter testing. We have a lot of work to do. I am sure we work 24 hours a day before this race and now we have to work 25 hours a day. The target was to start with a competitive car, we didn't do that and so need to arrive with one at the next couple of grands prix."
Alonso denied that the F2012 was the worst car he had ever started a season with. "No, I don't think so," he said. "There were some championships we started further away, for example last year we were 1.4s away from pole position and today in Q2 we were 1s away."
Clearly though, it is not the start that Maranello was looking for.