Latest F1 news in brief
- Ferrari complain about Hamilton in Brazil
- Alonso not disadvantaged, Dennis insists
- Disappointed Alonso says title nearly over
- Hamilton not investigated for Raikkonen incident
Ferrari complain about Hamilton in Brazil
(GMM) Ferrari on Saturday complained to the stewards about an incident involving McLaren's championship leader Lewis Hamilton in qualifying at Interlagos.
Although the Italian squad has not lodged a formal protest, it is understood that sporting director Stefano Domenicali pointed out to the stewards - and offered to provide team telemetry that supports the claim - that Kimi Raikkonen was held up on a flying lap through the Senna-S as Hamilton emerged from the pit lane late in the session.
The pair were seen discussing the incident after the session, and Ferrari strategist Luca Baldisseri is believed to have told television reporters that Raikkonen lost 3-4 tenths behind the Briton.
In the McLaren garage, meanwhile, a Brazilian FIA observer named Carlos donned a set of headphones as he listened in to any evidence that Fernando Alonso was disadvantaged in his fight with Hamilton for the title.
Spaniard Alonso ultimately qualified fourth, a few tenths off Hamilton's pace, and blamed having to start the 'Q3' phase behind his teammate as the decisive difficulty.
"The main problem was starting behind my teammate as usual," he told Italian television RAI, then referring to his badly grained 'super soft' Bridgestone tires.
"To pass the finish line with just three seconds to go makes you go too fast on the out lap," Alonso, 26, added.
Team boss Ron Dennis did not seem disappointed, though, as he assessed Hamilton's front row berth and next step towards winning the title.
"It's good, it's almost all in his hands now," he told the British broadcaster ITV.
Alonso not disadvantaged, Dennis insists
(GMM) Ron Dennis on Saturday played down any suggestion that McLaren's qualifying tactics disadvantaged Fernando Alonso in Brazil.
Spaniard Alonso, the lowest placed McLaren or Ferrari runner after the decisive qualifying session of the season at Interlagos, suggested that his super-soft Bridgestones wore out for his final flying lap because he had to push too hard on the out-lap.
"The main problem was starting behind my teammate as usual," he told Italian television RAI.
Dennis, the McLaren chief, confirmed that McLaren ran the clock close in the 'Q3' phase as both Lewis Hamilton and teammate Alonso were given an additional fuel burning lap.
But Alonso, 26, commented: "To pass the finish line with just three seconds to go makes you go too fast on the out lap."
Dennis reacted to reporters: "I don't think it hampered either driver.
"They both got the same advantage and we're quite happy with qualifying.
"We obviously cut it fine but it all worked as planned. Fernando and Lewis had the same advantage."
Disappointed Alonso says title nearly over
(GMM) Fernando Alonso on Saturday said not qualifying on the front row in Brazil essentially dashed his hopes of securing a third consecutive F1 title.
The disappointed Spaniard, who was fourth quickest at Interlagos while his main rival and teammate Lewis Hamilton qualified second, admitted to pessimism ahead of Sunday's championship finale.
Alonso, 26, needs to score four points more than Hamilton to successfully defend his back to back drivers' triumphs of 2005 and 2006.
"I've thrown away a little bit of my only possibility to win the race," he said on Saturday.
"It is very difficult to overtake because everyone is so close together in lap times.
"We will have exactly the same strategy, stops, laps, so there is no chance to overtake with the strategy or be lucky or something like that."
Alonso said only a unpredictable occurrence on Sunday, such as when Hamilton oddly beached his sister McLaren in a pit entry gravel trap two weeks ago in China, will revive his hopes of staying formula one champion.
"It's not that I'm pessimistic, but I am realistic," he insisted. "I need a race like China or something like that, a mechanical problem, or a very unlucky race for my opponents.
"If everything is normal, it's over for sure."
Hamilton not investigated for Raikkonen incident
(GMM) Stewards at the Brazilian grand prix are not investigating Lewis Hamilton for holding up Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen during qualifying on Saturday.
Ferrari complained to the FIA representatives after the session at Interlagos, claiming that Hamilton's slowing down lap on the run to turn four cost the flying Raikkonen four tenths.
An official protest was not lodged, however, and stewards on Saturday afternoon were not looking further into the matter.
Hamilton apologized to Raikkonen after the incident as he faced a barrage of hostile questions from the international media.
"I apologize if I got in his way, but I didn't think he was that close to me," said the Briton, adding that if he had not exited the pits at that moment, he would have held up his teammate Fernando Alonso who was queuing behind him for service.
"I was told I would be coming out close to Kimi," he acknowledged.
"I stayed where I was and braked. I didn't feel I hindered his lap, and I did get out of the way."
Raikkonen characteristically brushed aside the issue, but admitted that Hamilton could have let him past "in a slightly more easier way".
"But it is what it is now, so it doesn't change anything," the Finn added.