Alonso targets second place in championship

2011 F1 season

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2011

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monza, 2011

Fernando Alonso has set his sights on finishing second in the drivers’ championship.

Speaking ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix he said: “Even if it?s true we are no longer even mathematically in the hunt for the drivers? title, there are still plenty of reasons to retain our motivation to tackle these last five races with the right attitude.

“First of all there?s second place in the drivers? table. Given how the season has gone so far, with [Sebastian] Vettel totally dominant, failing to get on the podium only once, being runner-up would really be a great result for me and for the team.

“There are four of us in the running, as I am up against [Mark] Webber and the two McLaren guys and I reckon we will have to wait until Interlagos to find out who it will go to.”

Alonso has won once before at Suzuka in 2006 – though it came at the expense of his current team.

He said: “I?ve won the Japanese Grand Prix twice; once at Fuji and once here at Suzuka, the latter being the best of the two, but I?m sure no one in my current team would agree with that.

“I can understand that, because I can appreciate how disappointed they must have been when Michael [Schumacher] had to retire while leading ahead of me.

“It?s always bad to see a car stop with a failure. In fact, the same thing happened to me a few weeks earlier in Monza: Formula 1 can be a cruel sport at times.”

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58 comments on Alonso targets second place in championship

  1. Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 5th October 2011, 13:37

    Ferrari have only been the third fastest team for most of the year and it seems that, as they switch focus to next year, they’ve lost ground relative to McLaren and Red Bull in recent races. Second would be a tough but incredible achievement and a fitting place for Alonso to finish, considering that in my opinion he’s been the second best driver this year.

    In fact, with Ferrari’s recent form, beating either of Webber, Button or Hamilton in the championship would be top drawer, let alone of all of them!

  2. Prisoner Monkeys (@prisoner-monkeys) said on 5th October 2011, 13:40

    I’d rather be third overall, myself. Because when you think about it, second is the first loser. It’s like someone saying “Of all the people who couldn’t beat Sebastian Vettel, you were the first”.

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th October 2011, 13:44

      So its better to be the losers loser?

    • matt90 (@matt90) said on 5th October 2011, 13:55

      I think that’s better than “Of all the people who couldn’t beat Sebastian Vettel, you were the last and worst.” Runner-up in the championship still looks fairly good to me in a driver’s stats.

    • suka (@suka) said on 5th October 2011, 14:08

      Why not look at it as “the best of the rest” and since Vettel is by 100 and some points ahead of everyone else, somehow I feel as if there was no loosers.
      It was Vettel and there was the rest.
      Anyway, I doubt Alosno will be able to achieve the 2nd considering the Ferrari as 3rd fasted team meaning slower than 2 cars of RBR and 2 cars of Mclaren.

    • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th October 2011, 14:31

      Strange how Alonso now wants to get second.

      I would have rather expected him to say how he would want to win another 2 races this year, that would be an achievement. Or do they believe Vettel will either win al of them for the rest of the year, or let Webber win them to secure second?

      • @BasCB I don’t think the Ferrari is up to winning. The best hope is a few rivals make a mistake and Ferrari pick up the pieces is how I view it

        • BasCB (@bascb) said on 5th October 2011, 21:09

          @Steph Hm, you might be right there, seems Red Bull is winning with Vettel, or an outside chance for Button/Hamilton if they cut out the team mistakes and have a bit of luck.
          I am certain, Alonso will do all he can to have a shot at it nontheless. Just remember how Korea ended up last year :-)

          • definitely agree @BasCB . I seriously doubt Alonso will be able to pull of second but anything could still happen! It actually doesn’t bother me the title is nearly over with as the battle for 2nd place is so exciting.

          • damonsmedley (@damonsmedley) said on 5th October 2011, 21:27

            @BasCB @Steph But Red Bull haven’t had a single mechanical failure (well, one that’s stopped them from achieving something) all year! Do you think that’s about to change? In fact, everyone’s reliability has been amazing this year, especially at the front.

    • Fer no.65 (@fer-no65) said on 5th October 2011, 15:29

      It’s like someone saying “Of all the people who couldn’t beat Sebastian Vettel, you were the first”.

      Which isn’t that bad, IMO, considering no one could beat Vettel regularly this year.

  3. HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th October 2011, 13:43

    Good for Alonso, there is a lot more to a season than the WDC (thankfully) and I for one look forward to a great competition for “Best of the Rest”. One caveat, much as I like Mark Webber I hope we don’t see Vettel pulling over to let him take a win to ensure Red Bull drivers finish 1 and 2 in the WDC however unlikely it would be for Sebastien to give up anything for Mark.

  4. Racer (@racer) said on 5th October 2011, 14:02

    Button is by far the most deserving of the drivers in the battle for second, frankly none of the other three really deserves third…

    • suka (@suka) said on 5th October 2011, 14:18

      I consider Button, Alonso and Hamilton as equally deserving, really. All of them have showed great effort.
      Mark could have sealed it in Silverstone but didn’t or was not allowed to so I don’t consider him as deserving/entitled at this point.

      • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 5th October 2011, 14:30

        I can see how someone might argue against Webber or possibly Hamilton not deserving second, but Alonso? Really? He’s outperformed the car week in, week out and if there’s been a result for the taking, he’s done it.

        • Racer (@racer) said on 5th October 2011, 16:02

          You mean, if a car’s been coming up behind him, he’s let it past without a fight. I’d say this has been one of his worst ever seasons in F1 because of the lack of fight he has shown.

          • Dan Thorn (@dan-thorn) said on 5th October 2011, 17:07

            Was running Vettel onto the grass in Monza giving up without a fight? Or putting two wheel on the grass at the start of that race to take the lead? Or diving up the inside of Massa at Rivage at Spa?

            I’m not sure what you mean. He’s been overtaken a couple of times due to his car being massively slower than the cars around him at the latter stages of a race, but in a situation like that why delay the inevitable and lose even more time, which could ultimately lose you more places?

          • Julian (@julian) said on 6th October 2011, 6:32

            You have to ask yourself how much time would he have lost defending those positions before he inevitably got overtaken…

            Think about it, if he defended heavily against Webber in Singapore he would he would have lost time, whether it be half a second to 2 seconds per lap, to the cars behind him. This would have allowed Hamilton to catch him and most likely pass him in the final stage of the race.. By giving up 3rd position so quickly he pretty much assured himself a 4th place finish instead of a potential 5th behind Hamilton.

    • RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 5th October 2011, 14:36

      I can see your point on JB but not on FA, LH and MW. Alonso has dragged a hapless Ferrari to victory in Silverstone and was close in Nurburgring and has generally, once again, punched well above the cars potential all year. If Alonso doesn’t get 3rd place it will be due to his Ferrari. Shanghai being the only real flaw and a couple of poor starts. FA should finish fifth given his car but is again outperforming his machinery. MW, on the other hand has been dominated by Vettel. He is not scoring the maximum potential points every race which I believe Fernando is. Hamilton, by his and his team’s admission, is having a poor season. This is well documented and cannot be covered by two or three sensational performances.

      I clearly support Alonso, but in all honesty I believe he has done as good a job this year as anyone else on the grid.

  5. Robbie (@robbie) said on 5th October 2011, 14:17

    If I were FA, JB, LH, or MW I think I wouldn’t be looking at it as coming second, I would look at it as ending the season on a high with some momentum to think back on in the off-season as the efforts turn toward 2012…eg. imagine the extreme scenario if SV didn’t win another race this year and one of the 4 ‘runner-ups’ won all of them…not likely, but that would create huge buzz for that driver and his team. Of course, if it was MW, well let’s just say the team doesn’t need any more momentum, but it would sure give the feeling that SV might have stiffer competition next year.

  6. RBAlonso (@rbalonso) said on 5th October 2011, 14:25

    I applaud Fernando for his never say die attitude but, I think with the next few rounds of the championship that Ferrari will be third fastest in all of them. 7 wins in 3 seasons is a pretty poor return for the Maranello and they need as much momentum going into next season as they can. Aggressive outlook or otherwise, 2012 will be another difficult season given the prominence of JB and SV this season. At times, they’ve looked untouchable and you can never write off LH. 2nd in the championship would be a real achievement for Alonso and I hope that it can be achieved with at least one more win. But, 2nd for Alonso remains 1st loser.

  7. Mike (@mike) said on 5th October 2011, 14:30

    Quite honest from Alonso. He’s really become a much more mature driver.

  8. Robbie (@robbie) said on 5th October 2011, 14:50

    @HoHum…still can’t respond directly to others’ posts but Keith is looking at the problem for me…while I agree in general with you regarding drivers ‘pulling over’ to let others win, sometimes the math dictates that as the season winds down. It is as the season winds down that is exactly the time I don’t mind a team order…SV doesn’t need the points, and as long as they don’t do it blatantly I think it would be a great gesture on SV’s part, for the team, to ‘help’ MW wherever he could.

    As I say I never want to see a ‘pulling over’ again, but I think the onus is on SV, if opportunity arises and from a team and sponsor aspect, to contribute to a Red Bull 1-2 if at all possible, and I think SV would happily do that. In other words I don’t agree with you that SV would not give it up for MW given the circumstances as to how the season has played out. I would also hope that MW would take the ‘win’ in your scenario in the spirit it was intended, something borne of the math and one accomplished with assistance ie. needing a metaphorical asterisk beside it in the record books. Or maybe he would just look at it as a team thing and be perfectly proud of it. Nonetheless, given the circumstances I would understand SV helping in the same regard that he would expect and likely get the ‘help’, in the form of non-interference by his teammate, if the math dictated that. Again, I think of these things only as the season winds down and the math dictates the prudent thing to do and assuming both drivers had a fair shot from race one of the season.

    • celeste (@celeste) said on 5th October 2011, 15:35

      But then again Sebastian can still beat Schumi record of wins… it´ll be difficult but even for RBR that his car and his driver in one year can achieve all these records:
      Youngest back to back bichampion
      More poles on one season
      More wins on one season (by the same driver, Schumi´s record is 13)

      Beside I do think that will Ssebastian if given the order will mantein the gap if Webber was winning I can´t see him give up a win…

    • HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th October 2011, 16:10

      I understand the principle of “team” racing and I would very much like to see Webber come second.My hope is that he can win 2nd. place against the others on merit with full team support in the garage. It would leave a sour taste if any of the other 3 great drivers were beaten to a deserved second place by a contrived win for Mark.

    • Wooolfy said on 6th October 2011, 10:26

      In all this, where are LH and JB?

      • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th October 2011, 14:14

        Where are LH and JB? Likely throwing a wrench into HoHum’s hypothesis of MW taking 2nd place, on merit as HoHum would prefer, which I agree with. I still say SV would give up a win to MW if such circumstances arised and if he was asked to by the team, for the sake of the team, and given that he will have the WDC and the team the WCC. Like you HoHum, I would much prefer to see MW win it on merit than be gifted it, and I’m sure MW would rather earn it on his own too, but I would also understand them doing it and I don’t think MW would refuse the trophy and ask for that win to be stricken from the books if it happened. Personally at this point I think I would prefer to see JB come second. MW should have been challenging SV much more from the getgo given that he is in the same car.

        • Robbie (@robbie) said on 6th October 2011, 14:26

          @Keith…as you can see I am back to being able to respond directly to other posters…don’t know if you did anything for me personally after I responded to your email, or if it was just a factor of the wonderful changes to your site but either way, problem solved.

          @celeste…no question you are right that SV could go after some records and wouldn’t want to have to forgo a win from that aspect of it, but I think ultimately he would do what the team wished…ie. if there was an order he would obey it even if he didn’t like it…ie. he would not ignore it and be selfish…I don’t think…

  9. Alonso has driven gorgeously this year, and deserves 2nd in my opinion. He has dragged his useless Ferrari into positions it really shouldn’t be in. I’ve said this before, but I think he is driving better this year than when he won his championship(s.) Go Fernando!

    • Racer (@racer) said on 5th October 2011, 16:13

      I disagree, he has often risen up the field due to good starts and the mistakes and misfortune but has usually slipped back down again too easily as if he isn’t even interested. Think Hamilton passing him in Silverstone, Nurburgring when he let Hamilton pass without a fight, Spa when he let Webber pass without a fight, Vettel in Monza, Webber twice in Singapore – that’s six in the last six races!

      • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 5th October 2011, 17:17

        Yeah he let them all by so easily. Two of those were when he came out of the pits and we all know the car struggles to get the tyres going. And Vettel, yes, he even helped him getting past by allowing him to keep two wheels on the tarmac. And the RedBull was only a second per lap faster than anyone for 2/3of the race (until Button went wild :-P) so of course its shameful to be passed by Webber at the end of the DRS zone. I admit it often looks as if its easy to pass him but I never heard a driver who was looking forward to fighting with him.

        Seriously, Alonso gives his everything as long as the car can keep up with him but over the course of a race the actual pace of it lets him go backwards.

      • David-A (@david-a) said on 5th October 2011, 17:32

        Hamilton passed him in Silverstone, but Alonso repassed him and went on to win the race. did put up a fight to Vettel at Monza, as in the end, Vettel had to pull off a ballsy pass to take the lead. Webber’s move at the “Singapore sling” was very opportunistic, rather than bad driving on Alonso’s part.

      • HoHum (@hohum) said on 5th October 2011, 20:37

        Contrast Alonso allowing a pass to Massa not allowing a pass and see who finishes best.

  10. F1Yankee (@f1yankee) said on 5th October 2011, 15:12

    every team needs a captain on the field, and alonso is a stellar captain. however, this year 2nd place is button’s to lose.

  11. Dimitris 1395 (@) said on 5th October 2011, 20:26

    I think Button is on better form than Alonso and right now he’s getting the hell out of his Mclaren. Alonso is consistent, but Ferrari is just nowhere near the pace of Mclarens and especially Red Bulls

  12. Trenthamfolk (@trenthamfolk) said on 5th October 2011, 21:44

    Anything is possible when you have a team mate willing to act as a slave at the whim of the factory back home, eh Massa!

  13. RumFRESH (@rumfresh) said on 5th October 2011, 23:02

    For a team that should be occupying positions 5 and 6 based solely on the performance of their car, Alonso’s driving has been immense this season.

  14. Icthyes (@icthyes) said on 6th October 2011, 0:00

    A few weeks ago he would have been my bet to be 2nd overall but Ferrari seem to have slipped back a bit and will be doing mostly testing for the rest of the season. I tip one of the McLarens to do it.

  15. t3x (@t3x) said on 6th October 2011, 1:35

    Does anyone know how much money second brings to a driver or team as oposed to third of fourth?

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