After his first non-finish of the season in Canada, one might think Fernando Alonso is aiming to make up for it with victory at Indianapolis but the Renault driver thinks perhaps a podium finish is a more realistic target than the win. In a rare...
After his first non-finish of the season in Canada, one might think Fernando Alonso is aiming to make up for it with victory at Indianapolis but the Renault driver thinks perhaps a podium finish is a more realistic target than the win. In a rare error from the Spaniard, Alonso clipped the wall at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and had to retire with damaged suspension.
Championship rival Kimi Raikkonen went on to take the victory and close the gap between the two once again. Alonso will have the disadvantage of running early in qualifying for this weekend's US Grand Prix, which means an optimum grid position will be hard to find. Therefore, he is not counting on being on the top step of the podium on Sunday, although naturally he will be doing his best to win.
"I think... a podium is a more realistic target for us (than the win), especially because we go out third, I think, in qualifying," Alonso said in Thursday's FIA press conference at Indianapolis. "So this would not help us, our grid position. I think to finish on the podium is a great result for us here."
"But at the same time we always approach the weekends for the victory and we have to do the maximum we can, I think. We have a good car, we can have some luck, also, and good start, you never know. We'll see how the weekend is running, but at the moment the podium, I think, is a good target for us."
Alonso doesn't have the best track record at Indy -- he's never finished the race here. "Yeah, a lot," he commented when asked if that worries him. "Always in Indianapolis I never finish the race."
"So I hope this year to break this thing, and we have fantastic car in this season and we were able to fight for the podium in all the races, in fact. And to finish here in the podium or to finish the race for me will be a big, big pleasure."
With Raikkonen's win in Canada, McLaren is now only 13 points behind Renault, although the gap between Raikkonen and Alonso is a more comfortable 22 points. Ferrari got both cars on the podium in Montreal but it remains to be seen if the Italian team can display the same competitiveness at Indy. Alonso expects McLaren to still be Renault's main rivals this weekend.
"I think a lot of teams are very competitive in this race," he commented. "I think McLaren, obviously, are one of the strongest, Renault, Ferrari is coming back, BAR-Honda, sometimes they are quick, as well, like they did in the pole position in Canada. You know, every race is very open."
"When you arrive on Friday, it's difficult to predict a result for qualifying, for the race. I think our main competition now is with the McLaren, one, because Kimi is second in the Drivers' Championship from me. Also because the McLaren is second in the Constructor after us. So we have to race with them probably in this race these days."