Alonso matches best 2014 qualifying result at Spa

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Fernando Alonso matched his best qualifying result of the 2014 F1 season today in Belgium, finishing fourth in the session on Saturday afternoon.

In wet conditions at Spa-Francorchamps, the Ferrari driver managed to qualify ahead of nearest-rivals Daniel Ricciardo and Valtteri Bottas, and made no secret of his happiness in a press conference on Saturday afternoon.

“I’m definitely happy with the result,” Alonso said. “Obviously starting in the first two rows is quite a difficult thing to do.

“We didn’t have any qualifying that we’ve performed at this level in the season so definitely the rain or the conditions, or the car with this level of downforce works a little bit better and we managed to do a good lap and be in the first two rows.

“As I said this is something we are quite pleased with.”

Now, he is hoping to get in the mix for a podium finish behind the dominant Mercedes cars on Sunday at Spa, but knows that he will face a tough fight against the Red Bull and Williams drivers.

“We’ll see, I think the possibility is there, no doubt,” Alonso said. “I think that we are in a good position, fourth, we have some people around us with great pace, like Ricciardo, like the Williams.

“We will need to fight hard to be on the podium but we know that Mercedes, even if they look very quick, they have some mechanical problems in the last races so we just need to be there ready to take any opportunity.”

Alonso came close to winning last month’s Hungarian Grand Prix, before eventually finishing in second place behind Daniel Ricciardo. However, he will know that beating the Australian in tomorrow’s race could go a long way to helping him secure third place in the drivers’ championship, which he admitted yesterday was “ambitious”, but remains his target nevertheless.

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.”