|© AP Photo/Pool/ Srdjan Suki/EPA
Fernando Alonso reckoned he could have gifted Ferrari pole position in the team’s home race at the Italian Grand Prix on Saturday had his car not encountered a problem.
The Spaniard was the quickest in the first two legs of qualifying but a problem with the rear anti-roll bar on his car in Q3 meant that he couldn’t set a proper lap time and will start tenth.
“It’s maybe 15 years that something like this has happened, but it has and there’s no point in crying over it,” said Alonso confirming that the issue will be fixed ahead of the race.
"It's annoying as I drove 1:24.0 in Q2 and normally you can improve by three tenths so it was an easy pole position,” he explained.
The result means that his rivals are certain to make up ground in the championship although they would have to earn it.
"You have to start with the belief that you can still win," Alonso said. "I have to have that 100 percent.”
Alonso’s car has had troubles since Friday practice where he faced issues with the engine, brakes and gearbox robbing him of some track time but the two-time world champion believed it was not a concern.
“I don’t think the failures we’ve had over the past couple of days can be linked to a speeding up of the development on the car, because they have not involved components on which we are pushing to extremes,” he said.
“It’s a case of better Saturday than Sunday, because then, you have no chance of remedying the situation!” he added.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali was nevertheless convinced that all was not lost although he did confess if things had gone smoothly, the squad would have had a much stronger chance.
“All the signs were there for a nice afternoon, but if you don’t have 100 percent reliability, then you pay a high price and today that was confirmed yet again,” Domenicali said.
Technical director Pat Fry added that Alonso faced an uphill battle in the 53-lap race.
“We need to look into exactly what happened, but clearly, problems like these cannot occur if one wants to fight for the targets we have set ourselves,” Fry said. “Obviously the priority is reliability and this weekend, we have already paid a high price on that front and we cannot afford to have further problems.”