Alonso: Ferrari are the better team
Fernando Alonso is predicting a "tight" title contest and reckons Ferrari's teamwork can help them fight Red Bull's superior speed.
By Mike Wise in Yeongam
Last Updated: 14/10/12 5:31am
Fernando Alonso is predicting a "tight" contest for the World Championship and reckons Ferrari's teamwork can help them fight Red Bull's superior speed.
The Championship leader was speaking after qualifying for the Korean Grand Prix, in which he set the fourth quickest time.
Red Bull's Mark Webber took pole ahead of team-mate Sebastian Vettel, with Lewis Hamilton third fastest for McLaren.
Although Red Bull locked out the front-row for the second week running, the Ferraris of Alonso and team-mate Felipe Massa were quicker than they were during qualifying at Suzuka last weekend.
Furthermore, both drivers reckon Ferrari can close the gap on race day - something Alonso in particular needs to do if he is to prevent Vettel from taking the lead in the Drivers' Championship.
Alonso's lead was cut to just four points at Suzuka after he was forced out with a puncture on the first lap of a race which Vettel won.
"I'm reasonably confident to do a good race. The long runs are normally good for us - yesterday they were good," the Spaniard said on Saturday.
"For race pace, there are many factors; for qualifying, there is only the quickest car doing pole position. In the race it is not only the quickest car - you need to have good strategy, good tyres, good pit stops, a good start.
"I think we are the strongest team with all these factors. And thanks to these strengths, we are leading the Championship.
"We need to use our good points, hide a little bit our weakness, which is qualifying, and today I think we did a good qualifying.
"But I'm not worried for tomorrow and I'm not worried for the next five races. I think it's going to be tight.
"They have one advantage: that is the car. We have one advantage: that is the team."
Massa finished second in Japan and is keen for another strong result this weekend as he seeks to secure his future at the Scuderia.
The Brazilian lines up sixth at the Korea International Circuit and although he felt qualifying could have gone better, Massa's confidence is clearly on the up.
"I think the qualifying was okay. I didn't do a perfect lap and maybe with a perfect lap I would have been one or two positions better but I don't think it would have been much better than that," he said
Massa added: "I think I've made a few improvements. Everything is going in the right direction. I'm more competitive in qualifying and qualifying was always the most tricky for me.
"I think I feel much better, much more confident with the car, driving the car in a more automatic direction as well.
"In one direction, I understand more how to drive the car as well. In the other direction, some positive results help as well for your mind - the way you approach practice, qualifying and the race.
"I think you're a little bit more relaxed. I think it helps, definitely."