VIDEO: Ferrari must be “flexible” tomorrow, says Alonso

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With high temperatures expected for tomorrow’s Hungarian Grand Prix, everyone will be watching to see how the new Pirelli tires will hold up in the blistering heat. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso says those variables mean that his squad must be ready to change their plans on the fly during tomorrow’s event.

“The strategy will be very open, the tires are new for everyone and the high track temperature means we need to think of a strategy that can be modified at any moment,” Alonso said after qualifying fifth for tomorrow’s race. “The podium is always our target and I feel we can fight for it, even though we know it won’t be easy with such strong competition ahead of us.”

But while it’s still hard to predict how the new tires will fare, the Hungaroring’s notoriously difficult nature shall remain a constant throughout the Grand Prix. For Alonso, picking off positions during the rush down to the first corner will be important if he wants to have a puncher’s chance of cutting into Sebastian Vettel’s sizable championship lead this weekend.

“…We must look carefully at the start to try and make up a few places then and, on this front, the extra grip from being on the clean side should help,” Alonso said. “Here, it is hard to overtake in the race and so it’s even more important to try and make up ground immediately, particularly if we want to prevent Vettel from increasing his lead.”

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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