Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso dicing for positions at the Korean Grand Prix on Sunday served as a preview to perhaps the only interest left in the season dominated by Sebastian Vettel.
With the German and Red Bull well on their way to seal yet another drivers’ and constructors’ title this year, the focus now switches to who clinches the runner-up spot in the championship.
“Vettel is a very long way off in terms of points, but above all in performance terms and we cannot expect miracles between now and the end of the championship,” Alonso said. “Second place in the constructors' championship is probably a more realistic target, but one thing's certain, we are not giving up now and we will give it our best shot right to the very end."
Ferrari is second in the constructors’ standings just a solitary point ahead of Mercedes while Alonso is placed second in the drivers’ table with Hamilton in fourth, 34 points adrift, with five races remaining in the season.
"Even if the drivers' title is now an almost impossible target, we still have an obligation to continue to give our all to the very end of the championship, because we are still fighting for second place in the constructors' championship," affirmed Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali.
Alonso finished the Korean GP in sixth place, unable to make further ground after he found Hamilton ahead of him. Despite several attempts, the Spaniard brought his Ferrari home to add eight points to his tally.
“It wasn't a surprise to be off the pace in qualifying, as that's been the case since the start of the season, but the fact that we didn't have the pace in the race was one,” said Alonso who had a particularly stressful time managing his tyres.
Hamilton too struggled with his tyres, and was unable to pass Sauber’s Nico Hulkenberg to make up a place. He eventually finished fifth and earned ten points.
"That was not a great day for us and it feels like we deserved more as a team," the Mercedes driver said. "It was a nice battle with Fernando but it’s hard to take when it’s only for P5 or P6."