Alonso: McLaren, Red Bull, Force India are “beatable”

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If Fernando Alonso had even the faintest hope of claiming a third successive German Grand Prix victory at Hockenheim this weekend, he may as well forget it.

Ferrari once again produced an underwhelming performance on Saturday to qualify P7 and P12 as Alonso outqualified teammate Kimi Raikkonen for the seventh time this season.

Alonso’s record at Hockenheim is enviable. He has won a grand prix there on three occasions, including the last two runnings of the German Grand Prix at the track in 2010 and 2012. However, with the F14 T proving to be a very difficult car to work with, he was left to settle for seventh on the grid for tomorrow’s race.

However, Alonso is not resigning himself to a lacklustre Sunday, saying that he believes the other teams in contention for a podium finish are beatable.

“I think we need to see,” the Spaniard said. “There are always some surprises at the races. Some races we expect to be competitive and we are not; some races we find ourselves quite competitive.

“I think in front of us, we understand that Mercedes probably are too quick, it’s difficult to fight with them. But Red Bull, Force India, McLaren, they are beatable, so we can fight with them.”

Given that the raw pace of the F14 T leaves much to be desired, Alonso will be looking at other factors such as tire strategy and weather patterns to see if Ferrari can recover some positions at the front.

“It’s a race we need to manage in the best way possible with a good start, and a good understanding of the tires with these temperatures,” he said. “Try to anticipate what is the best strategy, and looking at the weather, threats of storms coming in the afternoon.

“We’ll see tomorrow. We’ll be ready for anything.”

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”