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On Saturday, Fernando Alonso described a ‘strange feeling’ that he would finish in front of Sebastian Vettel at Circuit of the Americas. That did not happen and the Spaniard must now finish at least third to claim the 2012 world title in Brazil next weekend.
Now behind Vettel by the pre-Abu Dhabi margin of 13 points, Alonso must collect at least 15 points for third position at Interlagos – and even then Vettel could still prevent him winning the title in what is likely to be a rain-affected finale. The Spaniard remains optimistic.
“We know it’s still alive, thanks to the first laps today,” he said, having shot from seventh on the grid – benefiting from a deliberate penalty for team-mate Felipe Massa – to fourth at the first corner, then inheriting third when Mark Webber’s Red Bull broke down.
“We knew we had a good chance. I tried to overtake people at the first corner and then the pace just improved when were amongst the leading group…but it just wasn’t possible to keep up with these two guys (Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, first and second); they were just too far ahead, but I did have enough pace to keep the others behind me.
“Really, this is like a victory for us. We never thought last night that we would only be losing three points today, so we’re just happy to have another good Sunday and to score well again.
“Now we go to Brazil with a chance of winning the championship – something we’ve been fighting for this whole year. Only Seb is in a better position than we are, so we should be proud of ourselves and see what the outcome is next weekend.”
Ferrari and Alonso started 2012 one and a half seconds off the pace in Melbourne, but have been in solid contention since a major update was introduced for Barcelona.
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