- Malaysian Grand Prix
Alonso baffled by Ferrari's lack of pace
Fernando Alonso admitted he was frustrated not to be able to challenge Red Bull in Malaysia after entering the race in high hopes Ferrari had made ground on its rivals.
Alonso finished fourth after passing Nico Hulkenberg late on but seemed a long way off challenging Red Bull despite Ferrari's apparent steps forward in Friday and Saturday's practice sessions. Alonso confessed he may have struggled to pass the Force India if it were not for his fresher tyres.
"I felt slow for the whole race," he said. "Yesterday after qualifying I thought we could challenge Red Bull at least, maybe not Mercedes, but I didn't feel competitive or fast enough to compete. When we did the first stint and switched to another medium the balance was not comfortable, and nor was the balance. It was a bit of a nightmare out there. We understood Hulkenberg was on a different strategy so we knew we had to push and do a small time trial on our side. It was not possible to challenge the Red Bull but we knew Hulkenberg could be overtaken so we tried to concentrate on that. All through the race through we were not happy."
Alonso confirmed the major issues with his Ferrari were related to traction.
"Today we didn't have a particularly good race. Traction was not good today out of the corners, we were losing a lot of ground. We compare our traction with the best car, the Red Bull, so maybe the deficit was expected. It is no secret our top speed is not comparable to Mercedes. They have been fastest in the tests, fastest in Australia and fastest here. To pass Hulkenberg the best place to overtake him was Turn Two, which is not a normal position to overtake anyone. With the tyre advantage I had, the second corner was the easiest for me."
Despite two races without a podium, Alonso finds himself just one point behind Hamilton in the drivers' standings, consistency he feels could be invaluable at the end of the season.
"We will put a lot of effort into improving the car as soon as possible to get to the level of Mercedes and Red Bull. Until that day we need to score points as we are doing and looking at the performance we have in these two races, one point less than Hamilton and six points more than Vettel, that's a less negative thing from these two races. We are scoring good points while we are not as competitive as we could be."