| BUDAPEST, July 30
BUDAPEST, July 30 Fernando Alonso goes into the
August break with a commanding lead over his Formula One
championship rivals, the uncomfortable knowledge his Ferrari is
a long way from being the fastest car on the circuit.
The Spaniard has won three of the season's first 11 races
but it has been his ability to pick up points in all of his
other eight outings, combined with some wily strategic choices
by Ferrari, which has put him 40 points ahead of Australian Mark
“"We have a lead of 40 points, courtesy of a car that has
not been the best in this first half of the season," said Alonso
after his fifth place at Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix.
“"Now we must try and make a good leap forward in terms of
performance to allow us to keep the lead in the championship,
because in the long term, what we have now will not be enough.
“"We've been saying it all the time," he added. "We finished
Canada and said we needed to improve. We finished Valencia and
said we needed to improve. At Silverstone we had to improve, and
here we have to improve again."
"“Because we won a couple of races it seemed that everything
was on the right path, but we have never said anything else.
"“This weekend, with dry running on Friday, Saturday and
Sunday you can see more clearly, but Lotus, McLaren and Red Bull
have been ahead of us for the whole championship."
Although Alonso extended his lead over Webber, the rest of
the pack is closing in and Ferrari know they must make
improvements before the season resumes with races at Spa and
then Monza in September.
Sebastian Vettel, Webber's Red Bull team mate, is only two
points further behind in third after finishing fourth at
Budapest with Lewis Hamilton a further five adrift following his
commanding win at the Hungaroring.
“"To have finished ahead of one Red Bull and right behind
the other in these circumstances was very important because, on
paper, we should have expected to finish seventh," said Alonso.
“"Hamilton was out of our reach this weekend, but we did not
lose much ground to Vettel and these are in my opinion, the
strongest of the group that's behind me in the championship.
“"If we are where we are, it's because we have always made
the most of what we had and because of an excellent reliability
record: it's not by chance that you get 23 consecutive points
Alonso's tactics of targetting Webber rather than trying to
chase Hamilton, combined with Ferrari's decision to opt for two
rather than three tyre changes, paid dividends.
“"We made the right choices, which resulted in Fernando
getting ahead of at least two cars that were quicker than his,"
said team principal Stefano Domenicali
“"There's a lot to do to reduce the performance gap and to
be as well prepared as possible for the last two races still to
be run in Europe.
“"At Spa and Monza we will race in very different conditions
and at very different tracks to Budapest, so anything can
(Editing by Alastair Himmer)