Japanese GP: Alonso "It’s now a mini-championship"
Fernando Alonso says the final five races of the season are now “a mini-championship” after his title lead was almost wiped out by a first-corner collision with Kimi Raikkonen at Suzuka.
Sun 07.10.12, 12:12AM
The Ferrari driver started from sixth, directly in front of Raikkonen, and at lights out the Lotus driver attempted to pressure Alonso with a move around the outside. The Finn made a small mistake, however, putting a wheel into the dirt, and the momentary loss of control led to a collision. Alonso immediately spun off in a cloud of dust, his race over.
"Today, we were very unlucky: to finish a race like this, at the very first corner is really a shame. Contact from Raikkonen caused a puncture to the left rear tyre and my race ended there,” he said. “This result has practically wiped out the advantage I had before, but if I'd been told at the start of the season that we would have been in this situation five races from the end, I'd have happily signed for it!
“Now we start a sort of mini-championship, run over five grands prix,” he added. “The aim will be to score at least one point more than all the others. What happened to us today could happen to the others next time: the wheel turns and that is what races are all about.”
Alonso admitted that the accident could have been avoided if he had a car capable of qualifying beyond the lower half of the top-10, where he said incidents are common.
“Unfortunately, when you start in the middle of the pack, these things can happen, because apart from the performance of the car – and ours is usually better on Sunday – circumstance can count for a lot. That could be seen from Felipe's race. He started tenth, but produced a perfect race, fighting with the fastest cars.
“Clearly, we must work a lot on the development of the car: I'm not worried, but we must react to the step forward that the other competitors have made.”