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Fernando Alonso could only ponder what might have been after qualifying at Suzuka, with the Ferrari driver having been one of the chief losers in the Kimi Räikkönen-yellow flag situation. When the Finn spun off at Spoon Curve, the championship leader and several others were forced to back off.
The incident highlighted the risk in Alonso’s strategy of attempting only a single Q3 flying lap, with the tactic having been used in a bid to save tyres. Nico Hülkenberg and both Sauber drivers also went for the single run at the end of the shootout.
“What can I say, other than get angry about being unlucky?” said Alonso, who will start sixth on the grid and five places behind his nearest title rival. “The yellow flags came at the worst possible moment, when I was going into Turn 14 (Spoon).
“Up until then, my lap was great and there was every chance of setting the fourth fastest time of the day, which would have then seen me start from third on the grid. From there, the race could have taken on a completely different picture, but we have to accept what happened. We were unlucky today, so maybe we’ll be lucky tomorrow!
“We are up against some very strong opponents, like Red Bull who are in front and there is also McLaren who are behind, so we will have to keep an eye on both sides of the track. I’m expecting a difficult Sunday: the main aim will be to finish – reliability is crucial - and bring home a good points haul.”
With six races to go in 2012, Alonso – who has headed the championship in his current lead since Valencia – is 29 points ahead of pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel.
|1.||S. Vettel||Red Bull||01:30.839||11|
|2.||M. Webber||Red Bull||01:31.090||15|
|10.||N. Hulkenberg||Force India||no time||12|
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