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Alonso downplays Spanish GP podium

2014-05-09 09:46

WE’LL WIN AGAIN… Neither Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso (right), winner of the 2013 Spanish GP, nor Red Bull’s Sebastian Vettel have won a race in 2014 as F1 heads to the Circuit de Catalunya for the 2014 Spanish GP Image: AP/Luca Bruno

BARCELONA, Spain – Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso downplayed his chances of a top three finish at his home Spanish GP.

Alonso has not a race won since he triumphed in front of his home fans at the Circuit de Catalunya in 2013  and Mercedes duo Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg remain the overwhelming favourites for Sunday's race (May 11).

Mercedes have won all four races so far but Alonso's third place in China (April 2014) indicated Ferrari had taken a step in the right direction, an improvement recognised by Mercedes motorsport head Toto Wolff.


When asked which team he thought of as his main rival, Wolff said: "I think it will be Ferrari. They are the only other team to have everything, car and powertrain, in-house. I reckon Alonso to be a real race monster who can achieve everything."

Alonso recognised the compliment but refused to go along with it: “If they count on us for the championship fight it's good news because they respect us. We need to deliver if we want to become really a threat. We are working on that.
"We are not in a position that we are happy with. We start with some deficit to the top teams and especially Mercedes."

Ferrari is fourth overall in the Constructors' standings, with 52 points to Mercedes’ 154. Champions Red Bull are second on 57 and Mercedes-powered Force India third on 54.


Asked whether another podium was within his reach this weekend (May 9 – 11), Alonso shook his head: "I don't think so. We cannot start the weekend thinking to be on the podium or thinking to win the race. That will be creating false targets to everyone.

"We know it's going to be a tough weekend and it's not going to be easy. Anything can happen but today sitting here if I tell you I will fight for the podium, probably I will lie to you and I don't want to do so for all the people coming."

Ferrari have upgraded its car and the characteristics of the Spanish circuit will also help it but Alonso expects Mercedes to remain ahead of the pack.

Sitting next to Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel at an F1 news conference in Spain, Alonso smiled when he and Vettel were asked how long they could bear not winning.

Vettel won the last nine races of 2013 but has not come close to winning in 2014 as his Renault power unit is still behind in terms of performance compared to Mercedes.


Alonso said: "Unfortunately, I have a lot more experience (of waiting for a win). You just try to do the best job you can and try to find different goals. My last win was here in 2013 so it's one year without victories and I would like not to have that long period.

"On the other hand, we are 22 drivers on the grid and maybe 20 are in a worse position than me. I am an extremely lucky and very privileged guy."


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