Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Although Fernando Alonso ended up 14th on the list by the end of Friday's free practice, the double world champion remains confident of a strong Belgian Grand Prix. AUTOSPORT was there to hear what he had to say as he recounted his day to the media and looked forward to the weekend

Q & A with Fernando Alonso

Q. You did not do a new tyre run on Friday. Why was that?

Fernando Alonso: Because we miss the first session due to the rain. In the second session it meant we had a lot to do, and as we carry on from the first session we missed the opportunity to do some changes. So, all the P2 sessions, we just concentrated on getting the programme done and recovering some time. In the end, it was better to miss the last new tyre run and keep concentrating on the changes because we felt it more important to do the last set-up change, just to confirm some ideas we had. We know the times on Friday are not important.

Q. A lot of people were saying the softer tyre felt quite unstable in the high-speed corners. How did you find it?

FA: Yes, as well. I think we all expected a little bit more from the soft tyre. I think on Saturday in qualifying we will be on soft, but as you said I think the feeling is a bit better with the prime in terms of driveability of the car. With the option tyre, we have some movement in the rear end on high-speed corners that is a little bit uncomfortable.

Q. How strong do you think your car is?

FA: I think we are strong, and we have not to be too worried about anyone at the moment. Only maybe the Red Bulls are on top of everybody, but apart from them I think Ferrari are very strong, McLaren are strong and Williams we know in the last couple of races have been strong as well. Toyota seems to be quick in this circuit as well, but we are there as well - we are in that group. So, I am confident and quite happy with the car. On Saturday we just need to maximise the potential of the car with some more set-up changes that we have to do in the morning, because we missed P1. And in qualifying we need to do a perfect lap.

As happened to us sometimes this year, on Saturday we don't do a perfect qualifying and in the race we are always behind someone. So it is important with the grid for Sunday to be in the first campaigns.

Q. Spa-Francorchamps is a special track. How does this year's car feel compared to last year's with less aerodynamic downforce and slick tyres?

FA: It feels quite similar to last year. Maybe I felt a little bit more grip than last year in the slow corners, like the last chicane and the first corner. I think it is a little bit better than last year. In the same way it is a little bit worse in high-speed corners, like Turns 10 & 11, I think last year was a little bit better. Overall I think the timed lap will be very similar this year to last year.

Q. But it is already faster than last year's pole position. What do you put that down to?

FA: Well, I think we see on Saturday. Last year in qualifying, the times were quite quick and I think in Q2, Kovalainen did 46.0, and today it is 47.2. We see on Saturday if we arrive to this 46.0. If it is quicker I think it is normal because the aerodynamics have improved a lot since the beginning of the season. The teams are doing huge steps so now the reduction in aerodynamic performance is not any more there. We arrive at the point where we were last year nearly, and we have the slick tyres so it is normal to improve a little bit the times.

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