• Monaco GP - Qualifying

Alonso wants to take fight to Red Bulls

ESPN Staff
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Fernando Alonso expects a close fight with Red Bull in Monaco on Sunday after qualifying in fifth, just 0.2s off Sebastian Vettel.

After a cautious start Alonso appeared to get faster and faster on Saturday and ended up six tenths up on team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Alonso does not expect Mercedes to push 100% in Monaco given the nature of the circuit, which he feels could bunch up the field and leave him within striking distance of at least one Red Bull in front.

"I think it is going to be closer due to the pace that we will have in the race," he said. "I remember last year the pace of Mercedes was holding everyone and creating a big train of cars. Tomorrow with the advantage they have I'm sure they will not push too much.

"While they can be in the 50% of all the laps we will be at 110% all of the laps and that will make the train a little bit closer. After the start and the laps around the pit stops it is difficult to overtake so we just need to be very focused."

When asked whether he expected to be so far in front of Raikkonen, who had seemed to be within touching distance all day, Alonso simply said: "Never, never."

He also admits his 2010 shunt in FP3, which ultimately saw him miss out on qualifying and start from the back of the grid, was weighing heavily on his mind again on Saturday, and says he was unaffected by Nico Rosberg's late Q3 stoppage.

"The lap was good, I not thinking about Nico but about the lap itself so it did not change my lap. The lap felt better and better. In FP3 I took it very easy, I had the experience unfortunately of 2010 when I missed the qualifying because of an accident. I took it very easy in Q1 and then in Q2 I started to get some pace and started pushing hard and in Q3 I think I was at the maximum.

"The two laps were good and I'm really, really happy with the laps and with the balance of the car. In fact we are one tenth or two tenths or Vettel which is a very good surprise."

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