Japanese GP: Rivals don't fear Red Bull's upturn in form
|By Jonathan Noble||Saturday, October 6th 2012, 15:57 GMT|
Red Bull's rivals do not believe that the team's stunning form at the Japanese Grand Prix is a warning sign that the outfit is about to seize control of the championship battle.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were in a class of their own at Suzuka on Saturday, securing their first front row lock-out of the campaign, leaving their team poised for its first back-to-back win of 2012.
But although championship leader Fernando Alonso and other main title contender Lewis Hamilton face a tough time in the race from their sixth and ninth positions on the grid, the pair are adamant that a decisive blow to the title battle has not been struck yet.
When asked by AUTOSPORT if he felt the title was now in the hands of Red Bull, Alonso said: "No, no. It didn't change the situation.
"I think in the next races we will improve the car for sure. I think we did not improve too much in the last two or three grands prix, but there are some good plans for the next races. So sooner or later we will be in a more competitive approach.
"On the other hand, we are not very competitive in pure performance [on Saturdays] because they are quicker than us, but on Sunday normally we improve our pace.
"The strategies normally are also very good, with pitstops and starts - and the points are given then.
"On Sundays we don't feel less strong than other teams. Maybe we lack a little bit of performance over a single lap, but on Sunday I think our team has nothing to fear from anyone."
Hamilton needs a good result to keep himself in the championship fight, but says that despite a set-up choice leaving him with his worst qualifying performance of the season in terms of Saturday pace, he says there is still every reason to keep pushing.
"We knew this weekend we had to win," he said. "I mean, we have to win every weekend and of course looking at the times through the weekend we could see the Ferraris were struggling.
"With Sebastian, all of a sudden they have the quickest car this weekend and he had a very quick car in the last race and got maximum points, so he is probably now the main competitor to Fernando.
"But we still have six races including tomorrow, so anything can happen. Perhaps they won't finish those races and we will capitalise as a team, so we will never give up and we will keep pushing in the hope that something magical happens."