Alonso: Impossible to tell if strategy is the right one

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Fernando Alonso has said that deciding on a strategy for the final part of qualifying today in India was difficult, and that he will not know whether or not it was the right call until after the race tomorrow at Buddh International Circuit.

The Ferrari driver could only qualify in eighth place, but he did run on the medium compound tire in the final stage of qualifying which meant that he could not challenge the front-runners who used the quicker soft tire. However, this decision will allow Alonso to go further in the race tomorrow before making his first pit stop.

“Before qualifying we looked at what might be the best strategy and it was very difficult to choose between two possibilities of equal worth,” Alonso explained. “It’s absolutely impossible to say how it will go tomorrow. Only after the chequered flag will we know which was the right choice.”

Ferrari, like Red Bull, opted to put their drivers on a split strategy, and Alonso believes that this will ensure the team a good haul of points on Sunday.

“The good thing about this decision is that, in putting two cars in the race on different strategies, at least one of us, me or Felipe, should be in a position to help the team in its goal of finishing second in the constructors’ world championship, which is our priority now,” the Spaniard explained.

Should Sebastian Vettel fail to finish in the top five tomorrow, Alonso must finish in the top two to keep the championship race alive heading to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix next weekend.

Toro Rosso at crossroads after Kvyat’s point, Hartley’s strong debut

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In a weekend with something to prove at Circuit of The Americas, Daniil Kvyat rose to the occasion with what he called “his best race of the season for sure” at the United States Grand Prix.

But it may not be enough for the Russian to have saved his seat at Scuderia Toro Rosso for the three final races this year.

Meanwhile, New Zealander Brendon Hartley capped off his roller-coaster debut weekend in Formula 1 with a solid 13th place finish after starting from the rear of the grid, learning as the race went on and bringing home his Toro Rosso chassis to the flag.

Toro Rosso faces a dilemma of three drivers available but only two seats to fill for the final three Grands Prix, with the Mexican Grand Prix coming up just next week.

Frenchman Pierre Gasly will be back after missing Austin due to his Super Formula commitments at Suzuka in Japan, but ultimately that went for naught as the races were canceled due to a typhoon.

Kvyat qualified 12th, was promoted to 11th by way of grid penalties and ended 10th, scoring a point for only the third race this year and first time since coming ninth in the Spanish Grand Prix back in May.

It was a weekend where he would have been expected to outdo Hartley, and did so, but not by a massive margin. And he was already coming in with a track time disadvantage, losing out in FP1 as Indonesian Formula 2 driver Sean Gelael ran in his chassis.

As it was, he rated his weekend performance highly and didn’t do his chances of staying in the car any harm.

Speaking to NBCSN after the race, Kvyat said, “Yeah, it was a perfect race. I did everything well. Brought the points home. It was close with (Felipe) Massa.

“We had some energy release issues on the engine. But it was a massive weekend. It was great. I really enjoyed myself. It was a good job by the team to keep it together with very limited running.

Hartley built up confidence throughout the weekend as he learned the car, the Pirelli tires and how an F1 race races versus an endurance race that he’d been used to doing for several years.

Having coming into the weekend with no expectations and just taking the race session-by-session, he felt good at the end of it.

“There’s so many little things to reflect on,” he told NBCSN. “I’ll put the eyes at rest and process it all. I did the standing start and it wasn’t the best… it’s been a long time.

“But yeah, (you’re learning) in terms of following in traffic, what 20 laps on these tires means, how much you can push it. I’m pretty satisfied. The pace was pretty strong. I made the mistake of getting passed by (Lance) Stroll. I couldn’t pass him back. Lots of challenges. I hope I can get another shot at it.

“Up until this moment… I didn’t want to know. I just wanted to do the job. I’m really relaxed. Now there might be some conversations.”

Toro Rosso figures to reveal its Mexican Grand Prix driver lineup early this week.