|© AP Photo/Mark Baker
Fernando Alonso expressed no surprise with Red Bull locking the front row at the Korean Grand Prix on Saturday, and kept an optimistic outlook for Sunday’s race despite the possibility of losing his rapidly eroding lead.
The Spaniard is hoping that, as seen several times this season, the race pace of the Ferrari translates into a better result than the speed in qualifying to ensure that he makes the most of the opportunities.
“I’d say we’ve made a step forward compared to Japan, just a week ago, both in terms of grid position and also the gap to the front,” said Alonso who qualified fourth, nearly three-tenths slower than the pole-sitter.
“You can see that our car is better suited to this track, given that it is basically the same one we raced in Japan,” he added.
Alonso is leading the standings from Sebastian Vettel, who qualified second, by just four points and could lose that miniscule advantage to the German after Sunday’s race.
But the double world champion remained positive despite the odds.
“It could happen that I lose the lead in the championship and maybe arrive at the last race 24 points down, but what matters is to be first in the classification at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix,” he said.
"What edge does the Red Bull have? A quicker car, but we have the better team,” Alonso insisted.
Teammate Felipe Massa meanwhile didn’t have a perfect qualifying as he made a few small mistakes that may have cost the Brazilian a position or two.
"But all in all, sixth place is definitely not a disaster,” he reasoned.
However, Massa does have a worry for Sunday’s race as he starts besides Romain Grosjean, who has been involved in several first lap incidents this season.
"I think he understands how he must behave so I’m not particularly concerned,” Massa said.
The Frenchman, who qualified seventh, too was confident that he won’t repeat his mistakes again.
“For sure there will be a lot of attention on my start; I know my objectives and I think we’re capable of a good result,” Grosjean said.