October 6th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Fernando Alonso will fight to the very end. That is his message after the Korean Grand Prix, in which he lost another large haul of points to Sebastian Vettel. Alonso is now 77 points behind the championship leader with five races remaining in the season.
After the race, Alonso said, “We knew this would be a difficult race and unfortunately the results confirmed the concerns we had already experienced on Friday, when we had a few problems with tyre degradation on the long run. It wasn’t a surprise to be off the pace in qualifying, as that’s been the case since the start of the season, but the fact that we didn’t have the pace in the race was one."
Alonso lost position to the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg off the start, and that compromised the first half of his race. He explained: "Unfortunately, at the start, I couldn’t keep the Sauber behind me and that meant I had a particularly stressful race in terms of the tyres."
Alonso was almost caught up in the turn 3 incident on the first lap when Felipe Massa spun in an attempt to avoid the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg. But Alonso managed to navigate his way through the drama without losing further positions. Massa ended up at the back of the field after recovering without damage from his spin. He described the incident:
“Today’s race was really very complicated, because my chances of getting a good result evaporated right from the first lap, when I found myself in the middle of a group, all of us fighting and I decided to go down the inside to try and brake later. Unfortunately, some of the cars were slower and in order to avoid driving into one of the Mercedes, I was forced to move over to the right, ending up in a spin. Luckily, the car was alright, but at that point I was contemplating a race from the back of the pack."
Massa managed to work his way back up into ninth place by the end of the race and took home two points for Ferrari. He explained: "Thanks to a few nice passing moves I still managed to bring home some points, which was a good thing compared to how it looked after the start. Today, we weren’t competitive and there were at least three or four teams quicker than us, including Sauber, but I hope this was mainly track dependent and that our car will be better suited to the Suzuka track”.
Alonso also expressed hope that Ferrari will be stronger in Japan next week, saying, "Now we must think only about Suzuka and try to get back on the podium, rediscovering the form we usually have on Sunday, that allows us to fight at the front."
When it comes to the championship, Alonso was not quite ready to admit defeat, but was realistic enough to know that he is very unlikely to take the title. Ferrari could, however, beat Mercedes into second place in the Constructors' Championship. Alonso said, "Vettel is a very long way off in terms of points, but above all in performance terms and we cannot expect miracles between now and the end of the championship. Second place in the Constructors’ championship is probably a more realistic target, but one thing’s certain, we are not giving up now and we will give it our best shot right to the very end."