• Malaysian GP - Qualifying

Alonso: Fourth is 'nearly the maximum'

ESPN Staff
March 29, 2014 « Raikkonen surprised by struggles in the wet | Vettel: We are catching Mercedes »
Fernando Alonso is confident of challenging Red Bull on Sunday © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso does not believe Ferrari could have done any better than fourth, especially as his incident with Daniil Kvyat in Q2 made the car almost undriveable in the closing stages of qualifying.

In heavy spray Alonso was driven into by Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat in Q2, sustaining damage to his left wishbone, but somehow managed to re-emerge after work by Ferrari's pit crew. He was third until the dying embers of Q3 when Nico Rosberg rose above him as the spray intensified, but Alonso insists fourth is a minor miracle given the difficulty he was having just steering the car by that stage.

"I'm extremely happy with fourth place," he said. "To be fourth is nearly the maximum we can do right now. If I see how the qualifying went, especially how chaotic it was, especially at the end with a car that for whatever reason was still damaged, we have to be. I could move the steering wheel with one finger to the right and on the left I could not even move it with two hands. It was heavy one side and light on the other. This in wet conditions was not the easiest way to drive the car. We managed to put the car out on track to complete the laps and that car was enough to be fourth and we have to be happy with it."

Early on in Q2 Alonso appeared to turn across Kvyat, who had hit the brakes late to pass the Ferrari on the inside. Alonso insists he did not see approaching Toro Rosso in the spray.

"Obviously it was an unfortunate situation, wrong place, wrong moment. I didn't see him, that's the truth. I turned in and only felt the hit and didn't see him before the hit of the car. I didn't see any spray so I don't know where he was coming from, whether he was late on braking, if he was blocked, I don't know anything. It was a surprise on the outlap with that kind of visibility to have that kind of attack [from Kvyat] but we were lucky to repair the pit lane and change it with probably a world record suspension change!!"

Sebastian Vettel may have split the Mercedes drivers but Alonso is convinced Ferrari will be in the same race as Red Bull on Sunday regardless of the conditions.

"In my opinion we can, why not? It's not that Red Bull is in a position of Mercedes, for example, even if it is now more dominant. A group of Mercedes cars including Ferrari are in a group behind so if we do a good race tomorrow, good strategy, good pit stops, good race, the possibility to beat Red Bull is there. Getting to the chequered flag is still the priority. If we do so, if we do our maximum race and pass the chequered flag, we will see what the result is but it should be good."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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