Fernando Alonso still maintains that he can win the title after Red Bull dominate qualifying again
Ferrari star believes he can also finish ahead of polesitter Vettel in Indian GP
By Mike Wise in New Delhi. Last Updated: 28/10/12 7:56am
A defiant Fernando Alonso has insisted he can beat Sebastian Vettel in the Indian Grand Prix and that the World Championship remains his for the taking.
The Ferrari star was speaking after Saturday's qualifying session, in which he set the fifth fastest time. Title leader Sebastian Vettel took pole position ahead of Red Bull team-mate Mark Webber in what was their third straight front-row lockout.
It appears that Ferrari have no response to Red Bull's recent surge in form - Vettel is seeking his fourth straight win on Sunday - but Alonso once again stressed that points are earned on Sundays when the Scuderia are usually more competitive.
When asked whether he felt the Championship is slipping away, Alonso replied: "Not at all. I think it's more challenging for us now but I remain 100 per cent confident that we will fight for this Championship and we will win it."
Races might be running out but Alonso nonetheless expressed the hope that there might still be time for Ferrari to improve the pace of their F2012 car over a flying lap.
"I think (Red Bull) are dominant on Saturdays. They have the fastest cars at the moment, so they are first and second," he said.
"They are dominant as a team performance but normally on Sundays our performance improves a little bit. We saw in Korea that we were putting some pressure on Webber especially, so let's wait for tomorrow.
"I think we can do a good race tomorrow. I think we can take some good points tomorrow and hopefully more points than Sebastian. And in the next races, hopefully we are a little bit more competitive.
"But the first target is to finish in front of them tomorrow. I think we have chances to do it."
Alonso denied that upgrades Ferrari are running this weekend are not working as the team would wish because of the correlation issues they have experienced - for some time now - between wind tunnel and the track.
"I don't think so. I think we are improving our car and I think we are making our car faster. Especially in this race - not so much in the last few grands prix, but I think this happened to every team," he said.
"But you need to put something big in your car when you are not the fastest - to become faster. You need a big upgrade; what we have in India is a small upgrade.
"We are waiting for some new part coming in the next races and hopefully we can be close to Red Bull, that at the moment is very dominant."
Of the correlation difficulties, he added: "I think it's a general situation all year, not just at the last four races. The wind tunnel was not giving us the right information and we lost the pace.
"We were out of the pace in February, out of the pace in July, out of the pace in September. We keep more or less consistent."
Meanwhile, Alonso said he could not better his fastest time, set on scrubbed soft tyres early in the final session, owing to the difficulty - seemingly shared by many drivers - in getting fresh rubber up to temperature.
"We saw all weekend that the new tyres are a bit little difficult - to get the maximum grip out of them in the beginning of the runs. We also saw McLaren in Q2 doing the fastest lap on lap five or something like that," he added.
"We couldn't improve at the second attempt in Q3 but it was okay with the first one to be P5, which is I think a good position to start the race and to attack."