- German GP - Race
Fighting Red Bulls not enough for Alonso
Fernando Alonso took no consolation from Ferrari's ability to fight Red Bull at the German Grand Prix and has called on his team to up its game.
Alonso raced to fifth at Hockenheim after tight battles with both Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo. However, he said racing last year's world champions was not a big boost for him and he expects to lose his fourth place in the standings unless things change soon.
"[It's] not much consolation [fighting Red Bull], to be honest," he said. "My consolation is to have 98 points, which hopefully helped the team, and being fourth in the drivers' championship, which is an unrealistic place and we will lose it sooner or later. That's my consolation, trying to do my best.
"Sometimes things go in your direction, sometimes not. Definitely this year things are not going very well for us, but whatever you do in the race, if you are not first on the podium it is not much consolation. We need to be united and work harder than what we did now because obviously we are not fast enough."
Alonso praised Ricciardo's driving after several laps racing wheel to wheel.
"Daniel is a surprise since Australia. I think he's doing unbelievable. I think he's 7-3 in races in the first ten races with Sebastian [Vettel] so it's something that probably not one of us expected. He is doing a very good job, he's driving fantastically and today he was battling very smart.
"He was always taking the slipstream of me after I passed him and then braking very late, attacking very late and never missed the corner so he was very, very smart. Very respectful of the rules etcetera. It was a great fight."
Alonso said Ferrari's three-stop strategy evolved as degradation proved worse than he expected. However, he does not think Ferrari made a mistake by waiting until the final stint to use super-softs while Vettel used them in a short penultimate stint to pull out an advantage.
"We planned more or less to do two stops at the beginning but in the middle of the race I was asking how the tyres were for everyone else because I really felt that we would struggle a lot if we go for two.
"So we switched to three and we probably surprised Red Bull a little bit at that time. We overtook them in the pits and then in the end we didn't have the pace to fight with Sebastian but we had the pace to fight with Daniel. I had very fresh tyres so the battle was on my side because I had the car advantage, so it took a couple of laps because I was also saving a little bit of fuel behind him.
"I think fifth place is absolutely the maximum today. I am very pleased and very happy. Probably Austria was the best race so far in the season for me, now probably it's this one because it was quite complex to manage the start, the fuel, the tyres, the change of strategy, the battles… So it was a very complex race to understand and to execute and I'm happy."