- Singapore Grand Prix - Qualifying
'It might have been my best Q3 lap of the year' - Alonso
Fernando Alonso said his qualifying lap at the Singapore Grand Prix was one of his best of the season, despite only being good enough for fifth on the grid.
The Ferrari driver was within a tenth of the two McLarens ahead of him but nearly a second faster than his team-mate Felipe Massa in sixth. He said he could easily of taken fifth with a more relaxed lap but instead pushed the limits to try to get on the second row.
"I am pleased with this qualifying, because I think that might have been my best Q3 lap of the whole year," he said. "I gave it 120%, taking risks in some corners, but that was the only way I could hope to fight for the top places. If I'd driven a normal lap, I would have finished in the same position, but half a second off the two McLarens, rather than less than a tenth. Sure, if I was in front of Hamilton and Button, then it would be a completely different story, but that's how it turned out and there's no point saying we were unlucky."
Alonso is adamant a podium is possible on Sunday and is hoping to make up positions at the start of the race - an area where he has been strong this season.
"I am convinced that a podium finish is within our reach. Usually, we go better in the race than in qualifying and there is no reason why that should not be the case here. We will try and make up some places at the start, even if, at this track, there is not much of a run from the start line to the first corner. Then we will try and make the most of our strategy and any eventual tyre degradation levels lower than that of some our opponents. This is a very hard race for the mechanical parts of the car and the Safety Car is usually involved: we will see what happens, but, I say it again, I am confident in our chances of getting to the podium."
Technical director Pat Fry said there was some disappointment with the team's qualifying performance, but praised Alonso's efforts and reckons Ferrari is more competitive at Singapore than at recent races.
"Reading the results sheet, one could say it reflects the current pecking order which has characterised this season, but it's natural that when the gaps are so close, at least among those battling for pole, there's a hint of disappointment," he said. "All the same, Fernando did a great job, getting the maximum out of the car we gave him. If we look at the gap to pole, we can say that, returning to a high downforce track, running the softest Pirelli compounds, we are back to the situation we had seen before, for example in Germany and Hungary, while in Spa and Monza we suffered a lot more. The start will be important tomorrow, an area where we have done rather well recently: we will therefore be trying to repeat that to make up some places."