Alonso writes off home podium chances
Fernando Alonso says he would be "lying" if he predicted he could challenge for a podium finish in Spain, despite claiming Ferrari's first of the season last time out.
Alonso marked the first race of the Marco Mattiacci era with third in China, a welcome result for a team which had struggled to compete with Mercedes power in the opening here races. Ferrari was helped by the front-limited nature of the Shanghai circuit, however, and Alonso is determined not to get carried away with his expectations at his home grand prix.
"You never know, this is sport, anything can happen," he said. "But if I was to tell you today I will fight for the podium probably I would be lying to you and I do not want to do so for all the people who have come. We cannot start the weekend thinking we can be on the podium, or thinking we can win the race. That would create and false targets that we bring here.
"We finished ninth and tenth in Bahrain, then we got the podium in China because we had some things put together on that Sunday. We are not in a position now to say we will fight for the podium here. We will do our best and we know it will be a tough weekend, it is not going to be easy."
Alonso believes he benefitted from a bit of luck in China to finish on the podium.
"Sometimes you have good luck and sometimes you have bad luck. In China for example I had a crash at the start, and nothing happened to my car, I could finish the race. The Red Bull's were fighting a little bit and they lost a bit of time.
"There were many factors together than put us on the podium but we need to do very special weekends to be on the podium and China was one of those. Lucky, and some other factors. Sitting here on Thursday, to repeat that podium would be incredible but it's not our main target."
On Thursday Toto Wolff described Alonso as a "race monster", and said Ferrari is Mercedes' biggest challenger, but Alonso laughed off the suggestion.
"A monster? It depends how you take it! At least he is a man, if it is a woman saying I am a monster that would be even worse. We need to do it step by step and be realistic with the position we have, it's a big gap in points and performance, but there is a long way to go in the championship.
"With the potential Ferrari has we must do anything we can to close that cap and become competitive, but that will not happen in one race and hopefully it will not happen too late."