Q and A with Fernando Alonso post-Brazil
Double world champion Fernando Alonso was forced to hand over his crown to Ferrari driver Kimi Raikkonen at the conclusion of the Brazilian Grand Prix last Sunday when he finished third behind the two Ferraris. This meant that the Spaniard finished the season one point less than Raikkonen and tied with his teammate, Lewis Hamilton, but due to countback, Alonso ended the closest championship in a long time, third overall.
Here he speaks to the team’s official website at the end of the weekend…
Fernando, how disappointed are you with the result?
Well, obviously you always have the hope to win the Championship until the last lap. I knew that I was running third, so if one of the Ferraris had had a problem I would have become Champion, so there was always the chance, but it didn’t happen. It is a sad moment for me not to win the Championship. But we tried right up to the end, so we have to keep our chin up.
Fernando, there was some nice overtaking in this race, talk us through how this effected your race?
Yeah, but after the first lap the race was not very interesting for me. I had a little fight with Kubica, but that was my only fight. I was just waiting for one of the Ferraris to have a problem, as we did not have the pace to beat them. I tried until the last lap. I’m a little bit sad now because we lost the Championship, but in a way the whole season has been positive, we have been fighting until the end. At the beginning when we launched the car in Valencia we were not expecting this.
How did you capitalize on your teammate's gearbox problem?
Yes, Lewis fell down to eighteenth in lap 4, at that point I was keeping pace with the Ferraris, so everything was looking good and I was quite optimistic. I think the Ferraris were taking care of their tires, but then they pushed hard and disappeared. From that point on I knew it was hard to avoid a Ferrari one-two, I lost the Championship then.
When you look back at the season, why do you think it didn’t work out in the end?
Well, in Hungary I had a strange penalty, in Japan I didn’t finish the race after the crash, in Canada I was seventh, in Magny Cours seventh – so for sure I didn’t arrive in Brazil with enough points to be safe winning the Championship so hopefully next year we’ll learn lessons and we’ll try again. For every driver - when we lose a Championship you start thinking why you lost the Championship. But we lost, nothing more we can do.
Fernando, are you happy for Kimi?
I’m happy for him. I think he deserves the Championship. All three drivers deserved to win the Championship – we were up and down all year. Kimi is a nice personality and he has tried, not only this year, but 2005 with me and 2003 with Michael, so he finally got the Championship so I’m happy. Congratulations to Kimi.
Some of your colleagues from Spain are glad it’s Kimi, and not Lewis, who won the Championship. Do you share this view?
No, I don’t share that view. For sure - people in Spain are not huge fans of Lewis, but that is the same for me in England probably – this is normal. But in my point of view I was concentrating in the race, trying to get the second position from the Ferraris.
Fernando, would you say that you lost the Championship or Ferrari won it?
I think both, both things. I think we lost the Championship in some of the later races – we just didn’t do a good enough job. Ferrari won the Championship because they had a tremendous end of the season. At the beginning we were able to fight with them to win races, but in the last couple of Grands Prix they were just flying - so a combination of both.
Fernando, at the end of 2006 we got the impression that maybe you weren’t enjoying your racing as much as you should, you said racing wasn’t a sport any more for you. Now you’re at McLaren, do you regret leaving Renault or have you enjoyed this year deep down as a person?
I don’t regret leaving Renault. This year I had the opportunity to win the Championship again - I won four races and looking at what Renault did this year it was a good decision. This year I enjoyed Formula 1 even more, overall it has been a good season, again fighting for the World Championship, so I am very happy.
Will you be driving for Vodafone McLaren Mercedes next year?
I have a contract with Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes, so that’s the reality for the moment.