APRIL 12, 2013
Massa's form not worrying Alonso
Fernando Alonso eased the heat on Sebastian Vettel in China by driving away from his theory the German might have been to blame for their Sepang clash.
Comments made by Alonso after the Malaysian grand prix hinted the Spaniard suspected Vettel slowed on purpose before the Ferrari made contact on the first lap.
"It was a surprise to find him there, almost stopped," Alonso, who retired after his damaged wing collapsed, had said. "I don't know what speed he was doing."
But Alonso on Thursday dismissed the theory it was a calculated ploy by Vettel to destroy his race, insisting: "That's impossible.
"There are 22 cars on the track and there is no way of knowing which line the drivers behind you will take," he is quoted by La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"It was a mistake from me."
Actually, Alonso's biggest headache at present is being caused by his once struggling teammate Felipe Massa.
Another competitive qualifying session by the Brazilian this weekend will make it an unprecedented fifth time on the trot he has beaten Alonso on Saturday.
Alonso, however, said it makes little sense to keep counting statistics about consecutive qualifying sessions over a winter period.
"After 200 races, it's very surprising that two qualifying sessions matter so much (to the media)," he said in China.
Then he became sarcastic.
"I'm pleased that it's so important, because it means that when I finish ahead of him it will mean I have done a stratospheric lap. We'll see if I can pull that magic here or later this year," said Alonso.
Similarly, when asked if Massa's pace is a worry, the 31-year-old quipped: "I haven't slept since Australia. I only like to eat white rice. I'm losing my hair.
"A huge drama."
More seriously, he said qualifying is much less important these days compared to the past.
"There were years when it was vital to start from the first row or from pole position, but since Pirelli arrived qualifying has become less and less important," he insisted.
However, Alonso paid tribute to Massa's top form.
"I think he is doing a fantastic job and driving at 100 per cent," he said.
But it remains to be seen what will happen if Massa can maintain his form.
"Alonso is the kind of driver who pulls out a knife to stop his teammate breathing," Brazilian commentator Lito Cavalcanti said on Sportv.
"Felipe is troubling him a lot, and he (Alonso) will react," he predicted.