Fernando Alonso has said that he is not looking to merely finish in the top eight at this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix to force Sebastian Vettel to wait another two weeks before becoming world champion, instead turning his attention to the constructors’ championship where Ferrari are embroiled in the battle for second place.
Should Alonso finish any lower than ninth this weekend and Vettel win the race, the German driver would enjoy an unassailable lead that would see him be crowned world champion for the fourth year in a row. For Alonso though, this is something of an inevitability, and he is turning his attention to the two Mercedes drivers in the race for second place in the constructors’ championship.
“The aim is definitely not just to finish in the first eight to keep the championship alive, because if Vettel doesn’t win here, he will do it in one of the next races, when the number of combinations that can affect the result will be less,” Alonso said after qualifying. “Now we need to pick up points for second place in the constructors’ championship and for that we need to finish ahead of Mercedes, who are only one point behind us.”
For Alonso, eighth place on the grid is hardly a surprising result after a difficult weekend so far at Suzuka.
“Today’s result is more or less what we were expecting, not having had a great pace all weekend, always being between sixth and tenth and even in Q3, I could not do more,” the Spaniard said after qualifying.
Alonso has one victory at Suzuka to his name, with his win in 2006 essentially clinching him his second world championship as Michael Schumacher retired due to an engine failure. From P8 though, it is hard to see the Ferrari driver taking a second victory at the track this weekend, but a top-five finish will certainly be the aim as the team looks to create a gap to Mercedes in the constructors’.