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Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali has insisted that Fernando Alonso’s third place finish in the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday was a ‘great result’, even though the F10 was no match for the pacing setting Red Bulls.
Speaking after the race, Domenicali added that the Scuderia always thought Suzuka would be a bit of a struggle, echoing comments made by Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo, who said they knew Red Bull would be ‘practically impossible to beat’ in the Land of the Rising Sun.
“We knew that, at this track, Red Bull would be very strong. This third place is therefore a great result, in line with our game plan and it keeps us right in with a chance in the Drivers’ Championship,” Domenicali reflected.
“Unfortunately, the situation in the Constructors’ took a knock because Felipe [Massa] had to retire after the accident at the start.
"I am very disappointed for our driver, who despite a less than brilliant grid position had every chance of having a good race.
“There are three grand’s prix to go in this championship though, which is proving very hard to predict: it will be vital to concentrate all the time and give our utmost, day after day.
"As we have said for a while now, the maths can wait until Abu Dhabi on 14 November.”
Ferrari’s Chief Track Engineer Chris Dyer also felt it was a case of good ‘damage limitation’: “A very tough day for the entire team, with qualifying and the race squeezed into just a few hours. The day did not get off to an easy start: Fernando did not get a perfect lap in qualifying and Felipe had problems that kept him from making it to Q3. At the start, we immediately lost Felipe and that is very disappointing as he could still have had a good race,” Dyer continued.
“Fernando then drove a great race, obtaining the maximum we could have hoped for in a Grand Prix where we did not have the pace to beat the Red Bulls: he drove almost the entire time as if it was a qualifying session.
“We can claim to have limited the damage in the most effective way possible and now we hope to be more competitive in the coming races.
“From every point of view, the team worked very, very well – car preparation, pit stops and strategy – in what was definitely not an easy situation, so to all of them my heartfelt congratulations.”
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