- German GP - Qualifying
Red Bulls and McLarens beatable - Alonso
Fernando Alonso believes his Ferrari is capable of beating the Red Bulls and McLaren in front of him on the German Grand Prix grid, although he suspects the Mercedes and Williams will be too quick.
Alonso qualified seventh on the grid at Hockenheim behind the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo as well as Kevin Magnussen's McLaren in fourth. He is resigned to not fighting with the Mercedes and Williams at the front of the grid and instead battling the likes of Red Bull and McLaren.
"I think in front of us Williams and Mercedes are took quick, they are one second in front of us, so that's difficult to fight with them," he said. "But Red Bull, Force India, McLaren can be beatable. We can fight with them but from behind we will have some threats. Button is starting 11th with a new set of tyres and he will be very quick in the race, looking at Magnussen's performance [qualifying fourth], I think Button will be competitive in the race. Hamilton [who had a brake failure in Q1], no doubts, will arrive to us and probably he will pass us. It's not an easy race but we need to manage it in the best way possible."
However, Alonso said in qualifying he could not finish any higher than seventh.
"The level [of performance] we have now is this one. We need to be ready for every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday until November, because the car will be the same and the opponents will be the same. I don't think there is any sudden big changes there, we just need to adapt to every circuit we can and play around with the set-up and characteristics of the circuit.
"Cooler temperatures this year seem to have an effect on being a little bit more competitive. James [Allison, technical director] said yesterday that we have a lot of tyre degradation, especially at the rear because we spin the tyres with the lack of downforce. When it's a hot track temperature this effect is a little bit bigger, but that's more for a race situation than qualifying because the new tyres mask some of the problems with the grip of the tyres. I expect tomorrow to be tougher than the performance we showed today."
Alonso said the removal of FRIC [Front and Rear Interconnected] suspension had not changed his car dramatically.
"It is very similar, the gap we have with the leaders is more or less the same. We have the same balance issues we have had all year and nearly identical set-up in this race compared to other grands prix. We came here thinking of some possibilities for the set-up to adapt the car for no FRIC and we ended up with the car exactly the same as the last races, so I don't think that it is effecting too much. What I heard from other teams it is more or less the same thing, with not much changing with the cars."