Date: 15th October 2012 at 4:00pm
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Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso went into the weekend for the Korean Grand Prix leading the Formula One World Championship. Just like he had every weekend since the Monaco Grand Prix back in May.

But after watching on as Sebastian Vettel won back-to-back races, the Spaniard’s lead had been cut down to just four points, while the German’s Red Bull had taken a large development step forward and was once again the class of the field.

Unfortunately for Ferrari and Alonso, that Red Bull form continued and it was clearly obvious from Friday morning onwards that it would be a weekend of damage limitation for Ferrari.

The lead of the championship was going to be lost, it was just a case of how much by?

Well Friday was an ominous start for Ferrari. Alonso was three tenths off the fastest time in both FP1 and FP2, in the morning he was behind the McLaren of Lewis Hamilton in the afternoon he was behind both Red Bull’s of Vettel and Mark Webber.

By the time Saturday morning had come around and Alonso was a second off the pace down in sixth with the expected advantage for Red Bull all to evident.

Alonso eventually went on to qualify in fourth place behind Hamilton and both the Red Bull’s.

It wasn’t ideal, but perhaps it was the best Alonso could manage with the car at his disposal.

‘I think tomorrow we can have a good race: maybe I might lose a few places immediately after the start, as I?m on the dirty side of the track, but we have shown we have a good pace over a long run and so we should be able to stay with the lead group. Our aim tomorrow? It?s very simple: to finish ahead of Vettel. From now on, how many points one has overall will not count for much, it will be scoring one more than my closest rival that matters. It could happen that I lose the lead in the championship and maybe arrive at the last race 24 points down, but what matters is to be first in the classification at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix. What edge does the Red Bull have? A quicker car, but we have the better team.? Alonso declared to formula1.com.

Alonso’s fears of starting on the dirty side of the track proved unfounded as Alonso got past Hamilton, whilst Vettel got past Webber, proving that actually that side of the track going into the inside of the first corner was the better line through turns one and two.

Alonso went on to battle Webber through the opening stages of the first lap, but once the race settled down it was clear that Alonso was only ever going to take the final place on the podium behind the two Red Bull cars.

After the race, Alonso was content with his weekends work: ?It was a difficult race and, come the end of the weekend, I am happy with the way things went. I was starting from the dirty side of the track, we had doubts over tyre life and what would be the race pace of our rivals. With all these concerns, managing to get to the podium meant I could breathe a big sigh of relief. It?s true that Red Bull was quickest all weekend, but our aim was to be right behind them and we achieved that. It?s also true that I am no longer leading the championship, but being six points down does not mean much, just as it did not mean much being four points up going into this race.

The former two-time champ, might play down the fact that he lost the lead of the championship this weekend, but inside Alonso knows that he will not be the favourite for the title with Vettel showing the best form of anyone all season winning three successive races.

 

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