Fernando Alonso says he and Ferrari need to 'raise the game' in Japanese GP qualifying
Double World Champion a disappointed tenth after opening practice
By Mike Wise at Suzuka. Last Updated: 11/10/13 8:40am
Fernando Alonso: Tenth fastest in opening practice
Fernando Alonso says he and Ferrari need to "raise the game" ahead of qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix on Saturday.
That was the blunt assessment of the double World Champion after he finished Friday practice only tenth fastest overall. Alonso survived a spin at the first Degner Curve in the afternoon session and ended it two places behind team-mate Felipe Massa.
He was also over a second slower than Sebastian Vettel, who was once again fastest of all. Were their respective positions to be repeated in Sunday's race, Vettel would clinch his fourth world title.
"In terms of competitiveness, we are not in the position we wanted. So definitely we need to improve. We were not at a good level today," Alonso said afterwards.
"Mercedes and Red Bull, Lotus in a way, they are in front of us and they should be in front of us. But we have Ricciardo, we have the McLaren - we have people that are normally behind us and today they are in front."
Daniel Ricciardo was seventh fastest in his Toro Rosso, with Jenson Button ninth overall for McLaren.
"We didn't extract the maximum today. I had a mistake with a spin; things were not good enough today," Alonso added.
"We need to raise the game for tomorrow and do a good lap tomorrow in Q3 because it's important to start from the front."