/ Motorsport

Another positive weekend for Fernando Alonso as Formula 1 rivals falter

Updated: Monday, 24 Sep 2012 12:04 | Comments

Fernando Alonso (r) is quietly going about his business of winning the drivers' championship as his rivals falter. He's 29 points clear.
Fernando Alonso (r) is quietly going about his business of winning the drivers' championship as his rivals falter. He's 29 points clear.

Fernando Alonso would love to see his Formula One world title rivals continue to trip over themselves after another "positive" weekend.

In Italy a fortnight ago it was Sebastian Vettel who failed to score after his Red Bull suffered an alternator failure late on in a race won by McLaren's Lewis Hamilton.

Yesterday under the lights of the Marina Bay Street Circuit that illuminate the Singapore Grand Prix it was Hamilton who retired, a gearbox failure costing him a victory claimed by Vettel.

On both occasions Alonso has ground out third place, and with 81 podiums to his name throughout his F1 career he has now edged past Ayrton Senna and behind only Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost.

Although Alonso's lead has been cut to 29 points to Vettel, with Hamilton 52 adrift and Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen 45 down after he finished sixth, the Spaniard is content enough assessing the title picture.

"Of the four contenders we lost points to one, and with the other three we increased our advantage, so a very good weekend," said Alonso.

"In Monza, it was Lewis winning the race and Sebastian retiring. In Singapore, Sebastian won and Lewis retired, so for me it's okay if they keep doing that.

"But it can't always be the case my closest rival retires. We can't go on like this."

More crucially for Alonso, he knows more pace is required if he is win his third title as he has qualified sixth, 10th, fifth and fifth in the last four races since back-to-back poles in Britain and Germany.

"We can't think of carrying on to the end of the season with qualifying sessions like on Saturday when our performance was almost a second off the best," added Alonso.

"On track we manage to make the most of what we have, making few or no mistakes, thanks to great work from the team.

"For that alone we deserve to be where we are in the classification.

"But this was the most difficult circuit for us, and we will find partially similar characteristics in Korea and Abu Dhabi (next month).

"So I hope by the time we get there we will have found a way of improving the car."

It was a point also recognised by team principal Stefano Domenicali, who said: "We need to make a step forward in terms of performance because we cannot rely purely on the misfortune of others.

"Where we need to improve a lot is on circuits that require maximum aerodynamic downforce.

"Having said that we mustn't over react as it's better to bring a few updates that work rather than bringing too many.

"This is the area where we need to improve and it will be one of our priorities in the coming days.

"The other, which is as always the number one priority, will be reliability.

"The further on the championship goes, the higher the price you pay for the slightest error."

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