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Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Q. You said on Thursday that Renault were now consistently top six to eight in qualifying and able to regularly challenge for points. What happened today?

Fernando Alonso: Today we were not quick enough, and we didn't arrive to Q3, which is always our main goal, and target. We have been in Q3 for the past nine or ten races, and today we were out so unfortunately we were not quick enough. We need to do better next time, we need to be better than our competitors and we need to see what we can do for tomorrow. And obviously for the next Grand Prix we need to improve.

Q. Why do you think the performance here has been lower than normal?

FA: It has been closer than normal, because I was P12 in Q2 and I was six tenths from Sebastian Vettel, who had the best time. It is a little bit strange than in six tenths you are in first position or 12th position. It has been very close, one or two tenths can make the difference.

Sometimes we were lucky in the past to be in Q3 for half a tenth, and today we were the one who was half a tenth slower. So we need to make sure that we don't arrive to that point that half a tenth makes the difference. We need to be clearly ahead of our competitors and we have not the pace today.

Q. We have seen in GP2 practice and their race today that small incidents guarantee the need for a safety car or red flag. Will tomorrow be more about good luck with safety cars as about pure pace?

FA: It can be! You never know. For sure there is a high chance of safety car at this track and we knew that before we came here - after seeing the F3 race one month ago. We saw today again, in GP2, the first lap and the first incident and there is a safety car. So tomorrow there is a high chance that we will have a safety car.

If you can do something with the strategy or not is very difficult, because you need to know which lap exactly how to stop one lap before the safety car! And it is impossible to predict when there will be an accident, so you need to race with your fingers crossed tomorrow.

Q. Were you organising the Spanish flag stickers on the helmets?

FA: No. I was the one that was responsible to make the flags! But the decision came from the drivers' briefing. I don't know who raised the point, but at one point I found myself in charge of making 20 flags for tomorrow. So I just did that.

Q. But you must be happy that all the drivers showed their respect yesterday and will wear the flags tomorrow?

FA: Yes. It is a great sign of respect from all of us. We are all united about these things, and tomorrow will be a minute of silence tomorrow again with all the drivers at 1.48pm on the grid. I think I am very proud of this type of thing from my colleagues.

Q. Can you say a word about Sebastian Vettel? Are you surprised about his performance?

FA: Not really. We know the Red Bull is one of the quickest cars now, and they have the Ferrari engine - so obviously they have maybe an advantage there. We saw today, two exactly same cars, two Red Bulls and two Toro Rossos. One was in pole position and one was out of Q1 and Q2.

I think Toro Rosso now is clearly in front of Red Bull after the last couple of races. Today, I think he did very well but also Sebastien Bourdais is in Q3 and fighting for good positions - so when the Toro Rosso is competitive we know that Sebastian will be in the top positions. It was a great performance, a great weekend and I think tomorrow they have a very high chance to score many points. It is another competitor that we have now.

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