• European Grand Prix

Fourth matches Alonso expectations

ESPNF1 Staff
June 25, 2011 « Schumacher keeping expectations in check | »
Fernando Alonso was 0.1s slower than Lewis Hamilton in qualifying © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso said he wasn't disappointed to be fourth on the grid for the European Grand Prix, as he knew that Red Bull would secure pole once again.

Alonso was Sebastian Vettel's closest challenger during qualifying in Canada two weeks ago, and with a new rule banning the changing of engine maps between qualifying and the race expected to hurt Red Bull, hopes were raised for a different team to take pole position. Alonso, however, had warned that Red Bull were still favourites, despite being quickest in Friday practice, and so was focussed on fighting for third.

"I don't think this was a disappointing qualifying," Alonso said. "Because even if there were those outside the team who built up expectations, within it, we were well aware of the situation. The aim was to fight with the McLarens and we did just that. Maybe we had hoped to be ahead of both, but instead we find ourselves splitting the two drivers."

Alonso also said he never thought the engine map ruling would affect the relative pace of each team, but was more hopeful of seeing that change at the British Grand Prix.

"I did not expect that the very slight change introduced to the rules would change the order of things and that was the case: Red Bull was and still is the favourite. We will see if at Silverstone, where there are more significant changes coming, something will happen, but we need to keep in mind that everyone or almost everyone will suffer a drop in performance."

Having qualified third on his first run in qualifying, Alonso aborted his second lap and was beaten by Mark Webber. He said that he wanted to save his tyres for the race, and was aiming to beat the McLarens to third.

"On my second run in Q3, I was giving it my all to try and improve, but once I realised that my time was slower than on my previous one, I chose to pit and save that set of Options as much as possible. I reckon that tomorrow we could see different strategies in terms of pit stops. Our aim is to finish on the podium and we are in with a chance."