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Monaco GP: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso celebrates 'best lap' of 2014

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Monaco GP 2014

Fernando Alonso believes his fifth place on the Monaco Grand Prix grid represents his best qualifying performance of the 2014 Formula 1 season.

Alonso was 0.7 seconds quicker than Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen and a similar distance behind the polesitting Mercedes of Nico Rosberg.

Last time out in Spain, Alonso was almost two seconds off pole.

"I think this one was probably my best of the year," said the double world champion.

"In Q2 I started to get some pace, I started pushing a little bit harder, and then in Q3 I extracted the maximum [from the car].

"The two laps were good; I was really happy with the laps and the balance of the car. We were only one or two tenths away from [Sebastian] Vettel, which is a good surprise.

"Obviously we still have to improve in all areas, qualifying also, but Monaco has been my best qualifying. It is for sure my favourite circuit for one-lap performance, for taking risks."

Alonso pointed out that Ferrari had made progress over the weekend by trying more changes than normal.

"During the weekend we made some important changes; normally we don't change the set-up so much," he said.

"But here we suffered a little bit with understeer, and with braking problems, so we worked a lot on that and the car felt more competitive in qualifying."

'MORE DIFFICULT' FOR RAIKKONEN

Raikkonen was less happy with his F14 T.

"It just seemed to be more difficult - at the beginning of qualifying it was a bit better and then it seemed to get more tricky," he said.

"It's been a difficult weekend so far again, just fighting with the car all the time. It's not really set-up, we don't seem to get the tyres working very well and are struggling with the fronts on this circuit."

The Finn believes the nature of Monaco has exacerbated his balance issues.

"It's difficult to resolve because obviously on a normal circuit you can push," he added.

"On a normal circuit you can run wide [and] it's fine, here there's no second chance."

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