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DATE News (chronologically)
03/25/11
f1
Australia GP: Alonso says pole still wide open  Fernando Alonso says are several teams that could challenge for the pole at this weekend's Australian Grand Prix.

Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari appeared to pick up where they left off in 2010, filling the top spots at the end of the afternoon's practice sessions at Albert Park. But Alonso said he could not yet rule out Mercedes, Williams or Renault ahead of Saturday's qualifying session.

"Nothing new yet and what else would you expect?" he said. "These two free practice sessions have not actually revealed the real relative strengths of the teams: this morning Red Bull went well and in the afternoon it was McLaren's turn, with us and Mercedes always in the mix, while Williams and Renault also seem competitive.

"There are so many teams who could be in with a chance of going for the win and therefore it's obvious that it will be necessary to have a good Saturday, without any mistakes if you want to start from the front row."

"Today, we concentrated mainly on analyzing the behavior of the Pirelli tires, which seems a bit different here to what we saw in testing, partly because the track surface has very different characteristics," he said. "As far as strategy is concerned, we will need to be very flexible during the race, because at the moment, we know too little about the tires to be able to say with certainty on which lap it will be best to stop. From what we have seen today, maybe we can do ten laps on one set of tires, or maybe thirty!

He added: "I am happy with the way the car is going: at the start there was a bit of understeer and we still are a way off from having perfect grip at the front, but it went better than I was expecting."

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