• Chinese Grand Prix

Chinese GP curbs Alonso's optimism

ESPNF1 Staff
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Fernando Alonso: "We knew this would be a difficult race and that's how it turned out" © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso has admitted his ninth place finish at the Chinese Grand Prix has dented his optimism heading to the next round of the championship in Bahrain.

Alonso won the rain-affected Malaysian Grand Prix three weeks ago, but struggled for pace in the dry in China, both qualifying and finishing ninth. He said his Ferrari's poor top speed had not helped him move through the field on Sunday, but admitted a lack of traction was also a concern.

"We knew this would be a difficult race and that's how it turned out," Alonso said. We were always in traffic, without an opportunity to exploit the car's potential and when you are behind other cars, the tyres get worn much more easily. Choosing to do three stops clearly meant we would be forced to do some overtaking, but with the top speed we had, it turned out to be almost impossible on the main straight, so I had to invent some overtaking moves at other points on the track, where I could make better use of the car.

"Obviously, this does not leave me very optimistic for Bahrain, on a track where traction and speed are vital, exactly the areas where we are weakest. Once again next week it will be mainly a case of damage limitation."

Alonso is third in the drivers' championship behind Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button but, despite Ferrari's struggles, is confident he is in the fight for the title .

"I don't want to think of the classification because the priority is to improve the performance of the F2012," he added. "This does not mean however, that I have lost hope, quite the contrary. Last year, we believed all the way to Spa and there's no reason not to at the moment, when we are third in the classification, just eight points off the leader. Sure, we definitely need to make a good step forward to make the car quicker. In Spain we will have major updates but so will the others and so it's not that I'm expecting a miracle of going one second quicker than the others."

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