• Korean Grand Prix - Qualifying

Alonso aiming for Suzuka repeat

ESPNF1 Staff
October 15, 2011 « Poor first sector costs Webber | Massa happy with qualifying improvement »
Fernando Alonso: "On Sunday we normally improve, so hopefully tomorrow will be a good Sunday" © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso is confident Ferrari's race pace will be better than its one-lap pace at the Korean Grand Prix, after he could only manage sixth on the grid in Saturday's qualifying.

Alonso's best time was 1.160s slower than Lewis Hamilton's pole position effort and slower than team-mate Felipe Massa for the second weekend in a row.

He said, relative to the McLarens and Red Bulls, his car was worse in the dry than it had been during Friday's wet practice sessions, but after driving from fifth to second at the Japanese Grand Prix last weekend, Alonso was quietly confident for Sunday's race.

"Not extremely happy, obviously," he said when asked by the BBC how he felt about his qualifying lap. "We were not quick enough, with dry conditions we suffered more than yesterday. We saw immediately that the McLarens were quick in FP3 and qualifying as well, and no surprises that Red Bull were quicker than us.

"Between this combination we were fighting for fifth and sixth, and today I am sixth. Hopefully tomorrow we can repeat the good performance we had in Suzuka. Normally on Saturday we struggle a little bit and on Sunday we normally improve, so hopefully tomorrow will be a good Sunday."

With tyre degradation set to play a big part in Sunday's race, Alonso said Ferrari was actually quite pleased with how the tyres held up during long runs in final practice.

"The tyres were a nice surprise this morning on the long runs," he added. "They didn't degrade as we expected, so maybe the race, in terms of pit stops, is a little bit easier than what we thought before coming here. But for sure the degradation will be high and we will talk about interesting strategies and interesting racing in front of us. Hopefully we can take any opportunity."