Ferrari 'in defensive mode'

Team boss relieved Alonso managed to extend lead in Hungary

By Mike Wise in Budapest.   Last Updated: 30/07/12 8:57am

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Stefano Domenicali was delighted that Fernando Alonso managed to increase his World Championship lead at the Hungarian Grand Prix given Ferrari's relative lack of pace.

Alonso won at Hockenheim last weekend but could only manage fifth place seven days later on a track where the cars of McLaren, Lotus and Red Bull were all clearly superior.

Yet as race winner Lewis Hamilton, second-placed Kimi Raikkonen and Sebastian Vettel, who finished fourth, all made ground, Alonso still pulled clear of his nearest pursuer Mark Webber.

Starting eleventh on the grid, the Australian eventually finished eighth having led Alonso at one stage before a third pit stop dropped him back behind the two-stopping Spaniard.

"Fernando did a great race. We knew that we were in a defensive mode and to be in front of two cars, Button and Webber, that were faster than us in pure performance, for us it's very important," Domenicali said.

"Of course, these kinds of races on these kinds of track, where you are sitting behind, are not easy.

"Then you have backmarkers and certain situations that cause you to be in traffic. I think that in any case today we maximised the points considering where we started," added the Ferrari boss.

Alonso started sixth on the grid, one place ahead of team-mate Felipe Massa, who eventually finished ninth.

"I think that we came here knowing it was a difficult grand prix for us, not easy. Going home having increased the number of points on the second driver in the Drivers' Championship is very good," Domenicali added.

"I think Fernando can go on holiday relaxing, disconnecting, because he deserves it - he did a fantastic first part of the season."

Domenicali expects more to come from Lotus, who moved above Ferrari in the Constructors' Championship after Raikkonen and Romain Grosjean finished second and third respectively.

Of their performance so far, he said: "I didn't think Lotus were able to collect the points they were able to collect because they always had a very good car since the beginning.

"They seem to be very strong and they seem to be very gentle on the tyres too. They will be a very good team in the second half of the season."

Of Ferrari's own prospects following the summer break, Domenicali as always stressed the importance of developing their F2012 car.

"(It's) very difficult because we've seen that, at the moment, there are cars that are faster than us. We need to keep and improve the level of performance," he continued.

"Last weekend we were the quickest in all conditions; this time we weren't. So there is the right balance to find.

"But we know that we need to keep finding steps of development otherwise the others will improve and it will be more difficult to always be in defensive mode."

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