Austrian GP: Fernando Alonso says fourth on grid flatters Ferrari
|By Jonathan Noble and Pablo Elizalde||Saturday, June 21st 2014, 15:00 GMT|
Fernando Alonso concedes it will be difficult to defend fourth place in Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, admitting Ferrari's grid position is "not realistic".
The Spaniard qualified in fourth position, equalling his best qualifying result of the 2014 Formula 1 season.
Alonso finished just a tenth behind F1 championship leader Nico Rosberg and beat both the Red Bulls and the second Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton.
But he admitted the circumstances helped his cause and felt fourth place was flattering to Ferrari.
"It was not a normal qualifying, which is probably what we took advantage of, because it's not normal to see Hamilton behind us, for example," said Alonso.
"So we need to be proud of the position.
"We need to be calm about the result because we were 1.1 seconds behind the Mercedes this morning.
"Now we have one Mercedes at one tenth [ahead] and one Mercedes behind, so I don't think everybody used their full potential because the conditions were a little bit tricky.
"Red Bull has been very competitive, especially on Sundays, so I expect [Daniel] Ricciardo and [Sebastian] Vettel, with all the new tyres he has now, to have a strong race. So it's going to be difficult to keep fourth."
Team-mate Kimi Raikkonen had another difficult qualifying and finished in eighth position, over 1.5s off Alonso's pace.
The Finn said he was unable to put a good lap together.
"I had been struggling at the first corner a lot and couldn't get it right," he said. "I locked up and had a flat-spot at the first corner and lost a lot of time because there were a lot of vibrations. It was difficult to get one lap together.
"I think speed-wise it wasn't too bad if I could have put a lap together, but I just really struggled to do that."