Fifth as good as it gets for Alonso in Hungary

Fernando Alonso admitted that a 5th place finish was better than he had expected in the Hungarian Grand Prix, after a day when Ferrari struggled to match Red Bull, Lotus and Mercedes.

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Alonso, who slipped to third in the world championship behind Kimi Raikkonen, after the Finn finished second in today’s race, acknowledged that his Ferrari team simply could not compete with its closest rivals this weekend.

“Finishing fifth today, maybe we actually did better than what should have been within our grasp, because Mercedes, Lotus and Red Bull were quicker than us, a fact we had already seen from Friday’s practice.”

The Spaniard was quick to accept that it had not been the best month for the Scuderia, but dismissed any notion that his title hopes were over, putting his faith in the teams ability to bounce back strongly at Spa and Monza following the summer break.

“This race ends what’s been a generally difficult month for us and, with Silverstone and Nürburgring, is part of a cycle where we were not up to par”, explained the double world champion. “However, looking at the points we have obtained, we haven’t lost out too much and today, Hamilton and Raikkonen helped us to keep the gap from growing too big to Vettel in the lead. Now, our aim is to work hard to arrive at Spa and Monza with a more competitive car. There are still nine races to go and the points available are more than enough. The team can do it and the potential is there, so I don’t see any reason why we can’t fight right to the end of the championship, as we have always done.”

Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa had an eventful race on his way to what he deemed a disappointing 8th place finish. Massa had started the race well by moving into 5th on lap 1, but in the process lost the left endplate from his front wing after contact with Nico Rosberg on the first lap. After his pitstop the Brazilian struggled with a lack of balance in his F138 and tumbled down the field. Lotus’ Romain Grosjean got himself in all sorts of trouble when he pulled off an audacious move around the outside of the Ferrari man going into turn 4, a move he was later penalised for as he had all four wheels off the circuit at the time.

“Today’s race was difficult from start to finish, because right from the first lap, at turn 5, after making contact with Rosberg, I lost the left part of the front wing”, said the 32-year-old. “At that time, stopping to change the nose would have lost valuable time, so we decided not to come in, but from then on, the balance of the car was never the same and I lost a lot in terms of performance, suffering a lot with understeer and oversteer and my tyres degraded more than they should have done. I definitely can’t be happy with eighth place, because both in the race and in qualifying, we lacked the pace to fight for the lead.”

Images courtesy of Octane Photographic

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