F1: 3rd-place battle between Williams and Ferrari heads for Suzuka

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Fourth and eighth place finishes for Ferrari in Singapore has brought the Scuderia within single digits of Williams for the valuable third-place position in the Constructor’s Championship.

Indeed, the Grove gang is now the target for Ferrari. Fernando Alonso, the fourth-place finisher in Singapore, has expressed his belief that Ferrari will be able to erase its current nine-point deficit and overtake Williams for P3.

“We are Ferrari, we are much more than a normal team,” Alonso is quoted as saying by Autosport. “So we just have to keep working hard and whatever is the performance of the car, whatever our advantage or disadvantage over Williams we will fight until the last lap of the last race because there are a lot of points in the table.

“There is Abu Dhabi with double points and there is a lot of opportunities that we will have to close that gap. I’m confident that at the end of the championship we will beat Williams.”

Ferrari technical director James Allison also chimed in today, telling the team’s website that they’re “determined” to beat out Williams with an F14 T machine that’s making improvements in mechanical grip.

Speaking of Williams, they’ll seek to get both Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas high up in the points after the latter fell to 11th in the final two laps at Singapore because of tire degradation.

Massa’s fifth-place run ensured that Williams kept grip on third in the constructor’s race. With five races to go, that remains the priority as the scene shifts this weekend to the challenging Suzuka Circuit and the Japanese Grand Prix.

“It is incredibly important to get the cars’ set-up right and very difficult for the drivers to get the perfect lap,” said team head of vehicle performance Rob Smedley. “The track is one which test all aspects of the car and so is very tough to get right.

“Tire management is key, so we hope we have done all of our homework and getting on top of track conditions throughout the weekend will directly affect qualifying and the race.”