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Alonso admits 2010 still hurts
Fernando Alonso admits that he will still "be a bit uncomfortable" returning to the Yas Marina Circuit after his seventh place there cost him the 2010 championship.
Alonso was in pole position to win the title last season, leading the standings and requiring just a top four finish behind Sebastian Vettel to secure the championship. However, Ferrari pitted Alonso early to cover off Mark Webber, and he was then stuck behind Vitaly Petrov's sixth-placed Renault for the rest of the race. Ahead of his return to the circuit, Alonso said he knew he would be asked about that failure, and that it would play on his mind if only for a short time.
"I'm sure that the most frequent question in tomorrow's press briefings will be about my return to the Yas Marina circuit after last year's race," Alonso wrote on the Ferrari website. "It would not be honest if I told you I won't be a bit uncomfortable thinking about it tomorrow morning when I see the paddock for the first time.
"But then the feeling will vanish and it will leave room for the present, which is about aiming to do well this weekend and in the future: to learn as much as possible with next season in mind. It's right that it should be like that because in sport, as in the rest of life, you must always look ahead. Abu Dhabi 2010 was an important stage in my career and I have no doubt that even through that bad day, my relationship with Ferrari has become even stronger."
Looking at this year's grand prix, Alonso said he wants victory rather than second place in the drivers' standings, but that the podium was a more realistic target.
"Talking to the guys in the team I can see they would really love to give me the chance to come second in the championship. I'm delighted it's like that because I know they feel it would be some kind of recognition for the efforts that have been put in by everyone during the season. But you know how we drivers are made: we always want to come first and the other positions are less important.
"I completely appreciate that winning will be very difficult ... We know if we all get everything right we can fight for the top three but our natural qualifying position is on the third row. Then in the race things can go differently but that is the realistic situation. So our target is the podium. Apart from anything else that result would allow me to fill a gap in my trophy cabinet as Abu Dhabi is the only race on the calendar from which I have yet to bring home silverware."