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GP Week : Issue 107
8-point lead going to Abu Dhabi Alonso happy with Brazil result Fernando Alonso was pleased to have lost just three points of his world championship lead after being comprehensively outperformed by Red Bull at Interlagos. The Spaniard finished third in Sunday’s race, just one place behind main rival Mark Webber, meaning he still holds an eight-point cushion going to Abu Dhabi this weekend. As a result, a second place finish for Alonso will ensure the title returns to Spain for the third time, even if Webber wins, while a Webber victory and Alonso in third would given Webber the title by two points. Nevertheless, the Spaniard was happy with Sunday’s result: “Overall it was a good race for us – being on the podium, overtaking Hamilton and Hulkenberg ... We knew it was not an easy thing to do but in terms of points we are extremely happy,” said Alonso after the race “I need second place if Mark wins to be champion, a fifth if Seb wins so we see what happens. “We saw today very easily how things can change, with safety cars, some things change and others not. If you make the wrong decision at the wrong moment you can be eighth or ninth and the title can be over.” He admitted it was going to be a challenging weekend in Abu Dhabi. “It is going to be a stressful weekend for all of us, but this is F1 and anything can happen next weekend,” he continued. “We all start from zero and we’ll see who does a better job in seven days’ time.” Surprise polesitter Hulkenberg helps Red Bull to 1-2 Red Bull may have the impressive pace of their RB6 conqueror to thank for their Brazilian Grand Prix 1-2 at Interlagos, but the team has Germany’s Nico Hulkenberg to thank for making the early part of their race all the more easy. It had been precisely 100 races since Williams took their last pole position at the 2005 European Grand Prix, but Hulkenberg put an end to that drought on Saturday when he made great use of the slippery conditions to take a shock pole by over a second. Although the pace of his FW32 was not nearly as impressive on race day as consistent dry conditions returned, he had a pivotal role to play in the early part of the race. After losing out to eventual winner Sebastian Vettel on the run to turn 1, he lost second place to Mark Webber next lap at Turn 4, giving Red Bull the provisional 1- 2 they needed to secure the constructors’ championship. Crucially however, Hulkenberg was not dispatched as quickly by Red Bull’s main rivals, allowing Vettel to open a 10-second lead over Alonso by the time he finally overtook Hulkenberg at turn 5 on lap 7. Hamilton was not so lucky however, as grip problems meant he was unable to overtake the 2009 GP2 champion despite countless attempts into turns 2 and 4. He was finally relieved of the Williams when Nico pitted on lap 14, but by then he had lost over 10 seconds to Alonso. Hulkenberg said he was pleased with eighth after the race, having extracted the maximum possible from his car: “I am happy with that result because I gave it everything today; there wasn’t anything left in me to give!” he said “I was struggling quite a lot with the car, it really wasn’t easy to drive, but I kept Kubica behind me all the way. The team did a great pitstop and chose the right strategy; we just needed some more car pace. “Even though we started on pole, my expectations for the race were to finish between fifth and tenth, so P8 is fine and it means we are now sixth in the constructors’ championship.” 23-year-old German finishes eighth 30