Alonso: My strategy flattered Ferrari’s pace

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Fernando Alonso believe that he was only able to challenge for a place on the podium due to strategy in the German Grand Prix this afternoon, stating that the Ferrari car is not quick enough to do so under normal circumstances.

The two-time world champion started on the medium compound tire, effectively giving him the reverse strategy to that of Sebastian Vettel and Romain Grosjean who finished 1st and 3rd respectively. Alonso did close on Grosjean on the final lap, but he could not find a way past and he is still pleased to have finished as high as 4th.

“It was very good the strategy,” Alonso said after the race. “I think with this strategy we have had the possibility to fight for the podium. We were not quick enough today, we didn’t have the pace, and even then we fight for the podium and we were very close to the leading group.

“It’s hard for me to imagine if we start 5th and we do soft-hard-hard-hard as the main competitors, I don’t think that I finish four seconds behind them or I fight with them, because we are slower than them. We were fighting with them thanks to the strategy.”

Alonso finished just 7.7 seconds behind race winner Sebastian Vettel despite starting the race down in P9. However, the gap between him and Vettel has grown to 34 points as we come towards the halfway point in the season.

NHRA Gatornationals: John Force qualifies 15th with no motor explosion, says ‘I need to race smart’ Sunday

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There’s good news and bad news for John Force fans.

The good news is the 16-time NHRA Funny Car champ did not suffer yet another motor explosion after enduring his third in three races during Friday’s qualifying session at Gainesville (Florida) Raceway.

In fact, Force intentionally feathered the gas pedal on his Chevrolet Camaro Funny Car to make sure it wasn’t again overtaxed, qualifying 15th with a run of 4.281 seconds at 222.88 mph.

Now for the bad news.

When Sunday’s final eliminations begin at 11 a.m. ET, Force will be matched against daughter and No. 2 qualifier, Courtney Force (3.914 seconds at 332.18 mph).

“It is a little bit of a bummer that I have to race him in the first round,” Courtney Force said of her father. “Tomorrow is a new day and we will have all our stuff ready and we will put on our game faces to go for that win.”

Courtney Force is seeking her second consecutive win, having also won two weeks ago at the second national event of the season in suburban Phoenix.

“I want to have a good side-by-side safe race tomorrow in round one,” Force said. “Our goal is to take my dad down and have a long day at the track winning rounds.

“We want to move the momentum over from Phoenix. I feel like my guys have a good handle on this Advance Auto Parts Camaro.”

But don’t count out dear old dad, an eight-time Funny Car winner at Gainesville.

“I am the kind of guy that, when it is qualifying day, I run it to the edge.,” John Force said. “I run it even if I know it will hurt itself.

“(With his three motor explosions this season) I am rethinking all that. What I am looking is the long haul. To go out here and say I have to win this race or I have to qualify low after as much stuff as we have put on the ground in Pomona and Phoenix and then to come here and do it again is bad. … We want to fix this problem and move on.

“Tomorrow I am going to have to play the odds game. I am going to run it to 700 or 800 feet and hope (Courtney) gets in trouble. I need to race smart.”

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