Q&A with Ferraris Fernando Alonso 12 May 2010
Fernando Alonso has won the Monaco Grand Prix twice - and had a moment of shock in qualifying 2006 when he found a certain Michael Schumacher blocking his path. But that is all water under the bridge and the two time world champion is simply looking forward to closing the gap to the Red Bulls this weekend - or at least being ready to capitalise should his biggest opponents be struck by misfortune, something that has served him well thus far this season
Q: Fernando, where do you see Ferrari at the moment and how would you reflect on the season so far?
Fernando Alonso: I think pretty well so far. In Bahrain we won the race and in Spain we ended second and both cases I think have been deserved because we did our race. Okay in Spain our real position was probably fourth under normal circumstances, as the others had some bad luck. But we took the opportunity, and that is a quality in itself - to be ready when the chances arise. What we have to do is to avoid mistakes like we made in Malaysia and in China. Hopefully we wont repeat them.
Q: Looking at the speed, do you think that you can close the gap to the Red
Bulls here in Monaco?
FA: This circuit is so different that the performance weve seen in the first part of the championship is not so important here. Anything can happen in Monaco. You can find cars in front that have not performed so well at other tracks, but here they are delivering. I am looking for a strong weekend from our side, with good preparations and a good set-up, and hopefully we make the tyres work. I dont see that we have to say that the Red Bulls are favourites here. They will be very quick and my guess is that at tracks like Istanbul, Montreal or Silverstone they will be favourite, but here in Monaco to select a clear favourite is almost impossible.
Q: You just mentioned the tyres. It seems that your team mate Felipe Massa has more difficulty getting them up to temperature than you do. Do you see a reason behind that?
FA: Well maybe on the first lap we generally suffer a little bit more, but there are some races where you are facing more degradation and in those circumstances we have some advantage because our car treats the tyres very well. I am happy with how the car is working with the tyres and Felipe and I are working very closely together to try and understand what to do and what not to do with the tyres.
Q: How much of this race will be decided by driver ability and how much will be down to luck?
FA: I would say that at some other tracks the driver is not that important - here it is the contrary. But you also need a good car. In previous years you never saw a Minardi winning here or an Arrows, and you will hardly see Hispania Racing winning this weekend. So the car is very important. The strong teams and the strong cars will be clear favourites here.
Q: In 2006 you were blocked on your fastest lap. What memories do you have, especially as the driver concerned is back on the grid
FA: It was four years ago and it was in qualifying. It was really close between all of us, between Ferrari and us, and McLaren were also very strong and on that Saturday night I knew that I would be starting from pole position. It was my first Monaco win so I have great memories!
Q: Every driver says that this race is very special. Is winning here as prestigious to you as winning the world championship?
FA: No, not that much. I prefer to win the title and not to win the Monaco race. But sure it is the most important race of the calendar in terms of repercussion and media attention. It truly is special and every driver dreams to win here once.
Q: All four F1 champions on the grid have won the Monte Carlo race. Is this an inspiration?
FA: This just demonstrates what Ive just said: that you have to have a competitive car. All the world champions had a competitive car in that particular year - probably this is the secret to winning here and I truly would be happy winning here for the third time.
Q: St Devote is a very special corner of this track where almost everybody has had his share of mistakes. Can you say what is so special about that corner?
FA: It is the first corner of the track and there are bumps. When you start a lap you normally try to push and when you arrive at this corner with the bumps you might find yourself with locked tyres. As at this track there is no space for mistakes I hope that we will not see any incidents at the start at this point on Sunday.
Q: It is the first time that since 2006 that Michael Schumacher is again on the grid. Have you forgiven him for what happened then?