• European Grand Prix

Red Bull still favourite for pole - Alonso

ESPNF1 Staff
June 24, 2011 « Massa happy with competitive Ferrari | »
Fernando Alonso: "It's not by chance that Red Bull have always taken pole" © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso believes one of the Red Bulls will take pole position at the European Grand Prix, despite outpacing both and setting the fastest lap in Friday practice.

Alonso was 0.297s clear of Sebastian Vettel in the second practice session and over half a second faster than Mark Webber, but still does not fancy his chances of taking his first pole position of the season.

"The car seems to handle well, therefore we can tackle qualifying with confidence, aware that we are up against very strong rivals: it's not by chance that Red Bull have always taken pole in the first seven races of the year and clearly they are still the favourites," he said. "Overtaking here will be easier than in Monaco, but grid position will nevertheless be important."

He added that the Friday practice times are fairly meaningless: "The track characteristics are well suited to our car, but it is too early to say where we are compared to the others. Already, in the past, we have gone well on the first day only to see ourselves losing out by a second in qualifying, therefore I don't even want to consider today's time sheet. In FP1 and FP2 you try so many things and the track changes very quickly - even more so on a street circuit like this one - so it is really impossible to make predictions."

Ferrari has struggled on Pirelli's harder tyre compounds this year, and Alonso said much of his Friday practice time was dedicated to trying out new solutions.

"We got through all our planned programme, working mainly on tyres, where the chief element at this grand prix is the first appearance of the medium [compound]," he said. "It was important that we were able to do so many laps, because on a circuit like this one, getting a lot of kilometres under your belt helps you gain confidence in the car, looking for the limits and thereby improving performance."