Singapore, Sept 26, 2011 (AFP) - With the drivers' world championship all but sewn up by Sebastian Vettel, Fernando Alonso said Monday that he was still determined and motivated to fight for second in the Formula One title race.
The 24-year-old German Vettel of Red Bull requires only one point from the final five races this season, starting with next month's Japanese Grand Prix, to retain his title and become the sport's youngest double champion.
For most of the rest, that has already signalled the end of interest in 2011 and an early focus on 2012, but two-time champion Spaniard Alonso believes that is not the way to go.
Rivals such as Briton Jenson Button of McLaren has declared no interest in finishing as runner-up, but Alonso, of Ferrari, said that for him it was a good target and a valuable one.
Having finished fourth in Sunday's race behind Vettel, Button and Australian Mark Webber in the second Red Bull, Alonso slipped one point behind the Englishman to third in the standings, just two ahead of Webber.
Alonso said: "Of course there's motivation for me to finish second. Yes, it's hard, but it's something you want, to be runner-up in the championship and better than third.
"And, also, the gap in the Constructors' Championship to Red Bull and McLaren -- Red Bull is over 100 points away and McLaren nearly 100 -- is huge so if I can finish in second in the drivers' championship it would be a very valuable thing for me."
Alonso has been consistently quick and competitive for much of the second half of this season, but slipped away from the top in Singapore. He believes this was due to car design.
He said: "I think it's all in the aerodynamics. If you make the car a second quicker with the aerodynamics, then your tyres are going to work and you get a pole position one after the other -- and you win races one after the other.
"They have the best car and driver and the best package at Red Bull and with Sebastian and that is why they have had this much success."
After his ninth win of the year Vettel relaxed, leaving his rivals scratching their heads in frustration - and wondering how they can find the way to beat the serial winners who are dominating their sport.
"We can do it, but we have to work and work and work again," said Alonso.
"I believe we have the potential, but we need to close the gap first."