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GP Week : Issue 188
A superb charge from ninth to second reignited Fernando Alonso’s championship campaign on sunday afternoon. Despite losing more ground to title leader sebastian Vettel, the Asturian had ample cause for optimism. During Friday practice, it appeared as though the ‘peaky’ performances of the F138 seem to have been replaced with more consistent platform on which to work. Alonso himself admitted that the Ferrari was “more stable and easy to drive... we went backwards in terms of the step in the car, we lost some direction, [but] we analysed everything and it seems now the things we are bringing to the team are delivering what we expect.” But starting ninth and tenth respectively was not what either Alonso or teammate Felipe Massa were hoping for, and on a day when Vettel, Alonso’s chief rival, narrowly avoided the same fate virtue of his first timed Q3 lap, some seriously stellar calculations would be required at Maranello should the conditions repeat themselves on Sunday. Fernando increased the pressure, saying “we need to recover nine positions tomorrow." He nearly did just that. A superb start saw the Spanish racer scythe up to a slow-starting Mark Webber and then move alongside the Australian when his exit was compromised by the peripheral spectre of Romain Grosjean’s Lotus. This was all the opportunity Alonso required, and he seized fifth from Webber through Eau Rouge in a reversal of their 2011 contest over the same piece of asphalt. A long seventh gear gave Alonso an additional advantage over the Mercedes of Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who were both shifting back to sixth through Eau Rouge, and was able to make short work of both Silver Arrows on the run to Les Combes. From there, second was never out of the question, but the ground to Vettel had already been lost, with Alonso finishing some sixteen seconds behind the championship leader. “This gives us the possibility to go for ward,” beamed a defiant Alonso on the podium, knowing full well his Ferrari was at least now on par with the RB9 and that he wouldn’t let an opportunity slip again. “We still have to recover some of the gap and go for pole positions.” Ferrari's meat and potatoes make Fernando's Boudin Blanc 29 GPWEEK.com // 29 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> BELGIUM