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Hungarian GP: Ferrari still targets podium at Hungaroring


By Berthold Bouman

Although Fernando Alonso was sixth, and Felipe Massa seventh during this afternoon’s qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, Ferrari are nevertheless targeting a podium place tomorrow at the Hungaroring. Alonso was three-tenths of a second slower than pole-sitter Lewis Hamilton, and the Spaniard admitted it was already a miracle he qualified for Q3.

Alonso still targets podium place

“We were expecting a very difficult qualifying and so it was. We saw at least eight cars — two McLarens, two Force Indias, two Red Bulls and Lotus — running very competitively and therefore, just getting to Q3 was in itself a difficult target to reach,” said Alonso, who is currently leading the Drivers’ Championship 30 points ahead of his nearest rival, Red Bull driver Mark Webber.

Alonso is actually hoping for rain, “All things considered, sixth place is not to be sneered at, far from it. It’s true that overtaking is definitely not easy here, but tomorrow, it might yet rain and we know that can change everything.”

He is also hoping the Pirelli tyres will perform better than expected, “There’s the unknown factor regarding the behaviour of the tyres, because yesterday no one here was able to really try them over a long run. We will have to be super concentrated, especially in how we manage the tyres.”

Alonso knows he cannot challenge the top on a dry track, but he hopes to limit the damage regarding his lead in the championship. “In the dry, we are not yet able to fight for the very top places, and we are well aware of that. Our aim will be to mark our closest rival in the Drivers’ classification and today we know we will be starting ahead of him [Webber]. Let’s see what the situation will be tomorrow evening,” said a very determined Alonso.

Massa agrees it will be difficult tomorrow, “It will be very hot tomorrow and it could also rain, so we will need to be on top of whatever situation arises.” He also doesn’t know what the situation with the Pirelli tyres is, “We will need to study carefully the little data we have relating to tyre behaviour: from the little we could see, there is a definite degradation with the softs, which could make itself felt even more with a full fuel load.”

And just like his Spanish team colleague, his thinks it is possible to fight for a podium place. “We will have to wait and see how things turn out in what will be a long race tomorrow, but I think we are still in with a chance of fighting for a podium finish, even if we are up against very strong opposition,” said the Brazilian.

With a 30-point lead in the Drivers’ Championship, Alonso can be certain of one thing: he will leave the Hungaroring tomorrow still leading the championship!

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