Monday 19 August 2019

Alonso gives up catching Vettel

FERNANDO Alonso has given up looking at the championship standings after yesterday watching Sebastian Vettel increase his considerably healthy lead.

Alonso proved to be Vettel's closest challenger in the European Grand Prix, but ultimately spent most of his time on track staring at the back of the reigning champion's Red Bull. At one stage Alonso raised hopes of a home victory, but in the end was happy to settle for finishing on the podium for the first time in four attempts at the Valencia Street Circuit. But in losing more ground to Vettel following the 23-year-old's sixth win in eight races this season, Alonso is now fifth in the standings, 99 points adrift. “I'm happy with the performance and the team moving forward from a difficult start to the season,” Alonso said. “But the gap is 99 points, a lot, so obviously the championship is not in our calculations at the moment, not in our hands.

We just need to take things race by race, try to win the races we go to and just wait for some mistakes from Red Bull. “But at the moment I don't think we can think of the championship. “We just need to see what happens in the last part of the season. HONOUR “We're still eight tenths to a second behind, so anyone who thinks we can win a championship being that far behind doesn't understand Formula One.” Vettel hailed his weekend “as better than anything I could imagine” after adding pole position and the fastest lap to his roll of honour. It was a faultless performance, erasing memories of his last-lap mistake in Canada when he slid wide to allow Jenson Button through for the win.

As far as Vettel is concerned, right now the team is running like a relentless well-oiled machine. “Sure we don't have to win by taking too many risks, but the target is to win races,” Vettel said. “We always try to achieve our optimum, and if we've a chance to win then we have to take it. “But if the day comes and we struggle, and the car is only maybe good enough for third, then we have to finish third, not seventh. “At the moment, though, we are all enjoying it. It is incredible the achievements the team has made in the last two and a half years.

“Every single department has become so much more professional, the reaction to mistakes and the amount of things we learn. “We just have to keep doing what we are doing, stay hungry, wanting to win races and wanting to become better and better every time.” Mark Webber was third and is the closest rival to Vettel along with McLaren's Jenson Button, who was sixth, with both 77 points adrift in the standings. Lewis Hamilton was fourth to lie 89 points behind, with Felipe Massa fifth in his Ferrari. For only the third time in F1 history – excluding the debacle of the 2005 United States GP – there were no retirements, with a record 24 cars crossing the finish line.

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