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F1 NEWS 

Alonso says fifth place on Hungarian Grand Prix grid is no surprise

Fernando Alonso, FerrariFernando Alonso says he is not disappointed with his performance in qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix, despite failing to reach the first two rows of the grid.

The Ferrari driver, the man who has scored the most points in the last three races, will start tomorrow's event from fifth position after finishing over half a second off the pace of pole position.

Alonso admitted third place could have been possible had he managed a perfect lap, but said his position did not come as a surprise.

"It's the same result as a week ago, so yet again today, we're neither surprised nor disappointed," said Alonso. "It's true I did not do a perfect lap in Q3 and I'm happy to admit that, but I don't think I could have made it to the front row.

"Third place was within our grasp and it would have been a great place from which to start the race, but others did better than us, including my team-mate who drove a nice lap: it's important that both our cars are in positions from which we can fight for a place on the podium.

"All the same, better fifth than fourth as it means at least I start from the clean side of the track. It seems that when it's time for Q3, Red Bull has a magic button that suddenly makes them go faster, but then it seems the button switches off in the race."

The Spaniard believes the race is still very open, but predicted overtaking will be very hard, even with DRS.

"It's always very difficult to overtake here and I don't think DRS will change that much: maybe a good tow and a gust of wind will be of more use," he said.

"We will try and move up a few places tomorrow: we will need to maintain a good pace, doing a perfect job at the pitstops, of which I think there will be a lot, maybe three or four, because tyre degradation is significant.

"It will also be important to get the timing of the stops right. I reckon anything could still happen: it will be a very open race."

Alonso was outqualified by team-mate Felipe Massa for the first time this season, the Brazilian finishing in fourth.

Massa is hopeful his Ferrari will be stronger in race trim after also finishing half a second off the pace today.

"Usually our rivals find something extra for qualifying and we make a step forward in the race: we will see tomorrow if this unwritten rule will also be confirmed at this track," Massa said. "I hope I have a car that is competitive, as it was in the final part of qualifying."

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