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Alonso under 'real pressure' - Whitmarsh

ESPN Staff
October 8, 2012 « Result doesn't change Kobayashi fate | Domenicali bullish over Ferrari development »
Fernando Alonso failed to score for the second time in four races © Sutton Images

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh says Fernando Alonso is now under "real pressure" in the championship battle and was pleased to close the gap in the standings.

While the focus was on Sebastian Vettel all but wiping out Alonso's 29-point championship lead by winning the Japanese Grand Prix while Alonso retired, Lewis Hamilton also managed to move 10 points closer to the championship leader. Hamilton is now 42 points behind Alonso with five races still to go, and despite a disappointing race where neither McLaren made the podium, Whitmarsh was keen to stress that Hamilton is right in the title race.

"Let's be positive about it, that's very much the case," Whitmarsh said. "I guess Fernando will be going home more unhappy than most I imagine, so he's under some real pressure; more pressure frankly from Sebastian than from us, but I think nonetheless we have closed that gap and we've got five races to go.

"This is not the most sterling performance from us this weekend and in those situations you've got to go back, look what you're doing on the car and make sure that we get it as good as we can in Korea. Both guys are capable of winning races and we've got five left to have a go at."

When asked who he saw as the bigger championship threat, Whitmarsh admitted it was Red Bull and not Ferrari which McLaren is likely to be fighting until the end of the season.

"I think at the moment you say Red Bull are on form in Japan and at the moment Ferrari are under some pressure from us and from Red Bull. If they've got some big updates they may be able to change that position, obviously I don't know."