• Spanish GP - Qualifying

Alonso baffled by gap to Mercedes

ESPN Staff
May 10, 2014 « Hamilton beat me fair and square - Rosberg | Raikkonen takes little satisfaction from beating Alonso »
Fernando Alonso could only manage to qualify seventh in Spain © Getty Images
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Fernando Alonso insists he is more concerned by how far off the pace of Mercedes he was in qualifying than the fact a podium at his home grand prix seems unlikely.

Alonso qualified seventh on Saturday, not only a long way off Red Bull but nearly two seconds off Lewis Hamilton, making his declaration on Thursday about a podium being unlikely seem realistic. But despite being outqualified by Kimi Raikkonen and seeing his podium chances dwindling, Alonso thinks Mercedes' growing advantage is alarming for Ferrari's hopes of returning to the front.

"Today [Kimi] was very good, very fast," Alonso said. "He's 0.034s in front which was not possible for me to reach. It was tight in qualifying and hopefully tomorrow it will also be tight. Hopefully we can score some good points, we have Force India and Red Bull three points and five points ahead in the championship and hopefully we can recover that. I won't expect anything more than that.

"We need to worry about the 1.8s to Mercedes. That's the worst thing of today, it's not the seventh place or how far or close we are from the podium, it's that 1.8s - it's too much and we want to change this as soon as possible.

"We seem to lose time in the last sector, at least today that was our main problem. The last chicane and last corner Mercedes seems to accelerate very quickly. To be honest they are doing a better job. When you compare it we are losing time everywhere so we need to improve first sector, last sector and middle sector!"

Having said that, Alonso does not think Ferrari needs to write off its chances just yet, despite Barcelona's reputation as being an indication of how fast teams will be for the rest of the season.

"Barcelona in the past used to be a reference in the past but I'm not sure if it shows how the championship will develop any more. Last year we won this race 60 seconds in front of the Mercedes and then we didn't win any more races so we need to see it in a different way."

Alonso wants to see Ferrari chip away at the chasing pack on Sunday, something he thinks is doable with such small gaps separating a large group of teams.

Obviously we would like to start a little closer to the front. We would not be near Mercedes as they are very dominant but I think from third to tenth there is a fight.

"Tomorrow is important. If both cars can overtake some positions, because we need the points for the championship, and Force India is struggling and Red Bull had an issue with Vettel so maybe we can get something."

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

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