Fernando Alonso has clinched second in the 2013 Formula One World Championship with fifth place in the United States Grand Prix.
Alonso had an uncharacteristic start as he lost a position from sixth on the grid, as Sergio Perez moved ahead and Lewis Hamilton and Romain Grosjean were also the quick starters from their respective positions. A challenging race followed, although a nice move on Esteban Gutierrez after his first pit stop on Lap 29 was his highlight. All race, he struggled with the grip level.
“It was difficult race,” Alonso told NBC’s Will Buxton after the race. “For us from the start, we lost one position to Perez. I was able to run so close. Managing the tires. Then I found a bit of pace around pit stop time. Nico was coming back attacking again.
“The main goal was to help fight for the Constructor’s Championship, we did all we could. But for whatever reason we are losing a little bit of pace. We need to find a bit at Brazil.”
Alonso also described the challenge of a one-stop race: “You never know how much you need to push, overtake or save the tires,” he told Buxton.
The Ferrari driver has not managed the same level of results as he did a year ago with a chassis that is still only about fourth or fifth best in the field at best. Still, consistency and the demise of some of the challengers around him leaves him with an unassailable margin for the vice championship.
Alonso has 227 points, which is 40 points clear of three drivers separated by only six points for third. Hamilton has now moved up to third place with 187, ahead of the injured Kimi Raikkonen on 183 and Mark Webber on 181.
For a comparison of how far ahead Sebastian Vettel is, though, his eighth straight victory achieved today brings him to 372 points. Vettel’s mark is only 42 clear of second and third, combined at 414.
Ferrari still has a shot at second in the Constructor’s Championship, as well. Today’s results leave the Scuderia third with 333 points, 15 behind Mercedes (348) and 18 clear of Lotus (315).