NOVEMBER 16, 2010
Alonso: We will be back, stronger
Fresh from his race of frustration trapped behind Vitaly Petrov's Renault in Abu Dhabi and a fruitless drive to seventh place, Fernando Alonso spoke of his disappointment and his hopes for the future
Q: How disappointed are you?
Alonso: It's a sad feeling but there is nothing we can do now. The race didn't go as we wanted. At the start we were hoping that the McLarens would overtake Vettel, but this time Button started very well but not Hamilton. We were in a good position at that point, then there was the safety car. First, Petrov made the decision to stop, which was a little bit unexpected, and then Webber stopped very early as well. We found ourselves needing to protect ourselves from either Webber or Petrov, so we decided to cover Webber and we exited the pits in front of him. In the end that was maybe not the right thing, but it's always easy to see the strategy after the race. But there is nothing we can change, someone did a better job than us and they have more points at the end of the championship so, congratulations to them.
Q: What about Petrov during the race?
Alonso: Well, our F-duct was working okay but the Renault was very quick on the straights and we knew from qualifying that they'd run less rear wing than us. The Renaults were very quick in sector two and not so quick in the last sector, but in the course of the race quick enough to protect their position.
Q: Was there a chance that you might not have pitted when the team asked you to?
Alonso: I didn't have time to think. I saw that Webber stopped and Felipe had stopped as well, and Webber was gaining time, so for us it was a choice that we had to make. We either decide to pit and stay in front of Webber, or not stop and he gets in front of us. For sure we could see at the end of the race that maybe if we stayed out like Button, it was enough. But you never know if the soft tyres are going to degrade a lot more and then we could have overtaken more cars.
Q: Presumably it's your lowest point?
Alonso: It's been an interesting season, with ups and downs for everybody. I think for us it was a good year, the first year of the relationship with Ferrari. For the last couple of years I've been fighting to be in Q3 and now I've been fighting for the world championship once more. I've taken five victories this year, which puts me ahead of Niki Lauda and Fangio, which is very special as I never thought I'd achieve so much on this list.
Over the year there were some good and bad moments. The best was Monza, while the worst was Monaco, being unable to do qualifying. I will remember this year for a long time and despite the final result, we've been fighting for the drivers' championship until the last race with the third quickest car, as we are third in the constructors' championship. I'm very proud of that, the job the team has done and our approach to the last part of the year. We had engine problems in the first part so we were very limited with engines from race four onwards and we managed to fight for the championship to the last lap of the last race. Overall, we did our best."
Q: Did you expect Vettel would win the title?
Alonso: I think the championship was between three contenders. I think it was more difficult for Hamilton - but between the two Red Bulls, Vettel was the most dangerous. He was normally the quickest and if they were first and second as they usually are in the race, then it would be a risk for us if Vettel was in front. Then the McLarens were quick in Abu Dhabi and we found ourselves behind them.
Q: Are you determined to come back stronger next year?
Alonso: Definitely, much stronger. This year I tested seven days before Bahrain and I arrived not knowing entirely what all the buttons on the steering wheel did, not knowing the names of the mechanics and the engineers. It was only around the time of the fifth or sixth race that I felt more comfortable. Now I feel very comfortable at Ferrari and we'll start next year feeling a lot more confident. Next year we'll start from a good position. I think that as we fought for the championship at the last race with the third quickest car, there's no doubt we'll be right up there next year.