Fernando Alonso is determined to re-write the record book in the 2013 Spanish Grand Prix
Local hero optimistic of progress despite history suggesting otherwise
By Mike Wise and James Galloway in Barcelona. Last Updated: 11/05/13 4:28pm
Fernando Alonso is determined to re-write the record book in Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix after qualifying fifth on the grid.
History is stacked against the Ferrari star as he aims for what would be a second victory in his home race. On only one occasion has a driver won at the Circuit de Catalunya after starting outside the front row, with Michael Schumacher winning for the Scuderia in 1996 after qualifying third.
"I would be more happy with a better position but it's time to change this record with people winning for so many years from the first row. Hopefully, tomorrow we can change this and fight for the win," Alonso said.
Alonso has even more ground to make up after a session in which he admitted Ferrari squeezed every drop of performance they could from the F138.
He and team-mate Felipe Massa, who was due to line up directly behind Alonso before being handed a retrospective grid penalty, made two qualifying runs in the final session while others, notably Lewis Hamilton and World Champion Sebastian Vettel, opted to save tyres.
However, the Spaniard reckons Ferrari's race pace will, once again, stand them in good stead.
"At the end of the day, we did the maximum. Sometimes we have one set of tyres in Q3; it was not the case today, we had two sets and repeated the time on both occasions," Alonso said.
"It's not that we made mistakes, it's the limit that we found today.
"So the car in qualifying pace is not as quick as the others but in long run pace, it's as quick as the others or even better. So that's our strong point and we need to take any opportunity that comes our way on Sunday."
Mercedes did not reveal their pace during practice but Alonso said that he wasn't surprised by the half-second gap to Rosberg's car. He also predicted that Vettel and Raikkonen would pose the biggest threats during the race.
"On Sundays the car is competitive or better but on Saturdays we're missing a couple of tenths. I think today was not a surprise for anyone," Alonso said.
"We are, more or less, three or fourth tenths off the pole position in the last few grands prix and here some people brought new parts. So we are half a second [away].
"It's reality. We'll have to recover this half a second in the next two or three grands prix."
The 31-year-old added: "Each race is unique. But if you look at Championship, you'll see that the Mercedes are struggling a lot in races. Three weeks ago, Rosberg was on pole position and finished ninth.
"Sure, Kimi and Sebastian are maybe looking better for the race and for the Championship. At the moment, Sebastian is first and Kimi second. So it would be nice to finish in front of them."