x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Alonso's podium plan for Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi is now the only race on the calendar that the Spaniard has failed to collect a trophy.

Fernando Alonso was delighted with his second-place finish yesterday, but wants to go one better for Ferrari.
Fernando Alonso was delighted with his second-place finish yesterday, but wants to go one better for Ferrari.

VALENCIA, Spain // Fernando Alonso's surge to second place at the European Grand Prix yesterday means Abu Dhabi is now the only race on the calendar that the Spaniard has failed to collect a trophy. And he has his focus firmly on changing that at Yas Marina Circuit on November 13.

"I am very happy," said Alonso, after achieving Ferrari's best result of the season in front of his home fans at the Valencia Street Circuit. "This is a very special podium and the best podium of the year. At home I have trophies from all Formula One circuits I have raced apart from Abu Dhabi - and India where obviously we race this year.

"Now I can cross out here and hopefully I can get a podium in Abu Dhabi and India and complete all the trophies from the Formula One calendar."

Ferrari have endured a poor start to the season, but are showing signs of improvement and after beating Mark Webber of Red Bull Racing in a tight battle for second, Alonso said such is the expectations of both himself and the team, developing the car "will never stop until we reach first position in terms of performance".

"We all know that our Tifosi are expecting us to win," said Alonso, whose teammate, Felipe Massa, finished fifth.

"At the moment we are not in that position, but we are getting much closer. In the first three or four races of the championship, we were on average 1.5 seconds behind Red Bull in qualifying; now we are on average six or seven tenths, so we have closed the gap by half."

Stefano Domenicali, Alonso's team principal, echoed his driver's viewpoint, asserting "our only target has to be the victory - we are Ferrari after all".

Yet Alonso is realistic about his chances of chasing down Sebastian Vettel, who leads the 29 year old in the drivers' standings by 99 points. Yesterday he finished more than 10 seconds behind Red Bull's world champion and concedes his team are "a couple of months behind" their rivals in terms of car development after upgrade issues during winter testing.

"A the moment, I don't think we can consider the championship in a proper way," he said. "The distance now, with 99 points, is a lot, so it's not in our hands. We need to do it race by race, try to win races and wait for some mistakes from Red Bull."