Alonso: Ferrari are more competitive

Saturday 13-October-2012 08:46

Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari will be "more competitive" this Sunday than they were last as he looks to retain the lead in the Drivers' Championship.

Last month with seven races to go, Alonso held a 39-point advantage over Sebastian Vettel in the standings. Two races later and that is down to just four points.

Vettel's back-to-back wins in Singapore and Suzuka coupled with Alonso's under-performing F2012 and his Japanese DNF have put the Red Bull racer in the ascendancy.

The German held onto that position through Saturday's qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix, claiming a front row grid slot, although it wasn't the pole position.

Alonso, meanwhile, secured fourth place, his best qualifying position since taking pole in July's German GP.

"I think it was fine, at the end of the day we're in a position that is better than Suzuka, seven days ago, and we have to be more or less happy," said the Spaniard.

"I was thinking it would be a little bit worse to be honest, because we were sixth and 11th in Suzuka, we have exactly the same car, and we are fourth and sixth here, so it's something that's a little bit better'

"We seem to be a little bit more competitive, also on the long run yesterday. A little bit more confidence for tomorrow's race, but we know that it's going to be tough."

As for Sunday's grand prix at the Yeongam circuit, all at Ferrari - including Alonso - are confident they have the race-pace needed to fight at the front.

"Sunday is normally a little bit better for us, Saturday is the pure performance of the cars, and obviously we are fighting with a car that did first positions all weekend, first in Q1, first in Q2 and first and second in Q3," said the 31-year-old.

"So they have a strong car, it's the strongest point from them, but we have a team. In the race there is the start, there is the strategy, the tyre management, etc, and on that aspect, I think we are the strongest."

Team boss Stefano Domenicali was also happier with Ferrari's efforts on Saturday as Felipe Massa put his F2012 up into sixth place.

"We're never happy but we have made another step in the right direction in qualifying," said the Italian. "The target was to start from the second or third row at least and we have.

"Now we focus on the race.

"On Friday, the race pace was not too bad. Let's hope to have a clean start without any problems."

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