Fernando Alonso: “It’s not normal to see Hamilton behind us…”

Fernando Alonso admits that he’s fortunate to be starting as high as fourth in Austria – but he insists that Ferrari has also made genuine progress with its recent updates.

Fourth represents Alonso’s best dry qualifying position to date with the F14 T.

“Definitely it was not a normal qualifying,” said Alonso. “Probably we took advantage of it because it’s not normal to see Hamilton behind us, for example. We need to be proud of the position. Definitely the new parts we brought in Canada and here, they seem to work fine. In Canada we felt more potential in the car, but for whatever reason, the track or the layout or whatever was not good for us, and we didn’t have a good race.

“But the new parts were better than the old ones, so that was a positive sign. Here again we tested some others and they seemed to be also positive, so hopefully we are moving in the right direction. We know there’s still a long way to go.

“As I said the qualifying, we need to be calm about the result, because we were 1.1 seconds behind the Mercedes this morning and in some practice, now we have one Mercedes one tenth [ahead] and one Mercedes behind, so I don’t think everybody used their full potential, because conditions were a little bit tricky.”

Alonso admits he expects to face pressure from behind, and not just from Lewis Hamilton, who is back in ninth: “I expect Ricciardo and Vettel – with all the new tyres he has now – to have a strong race. So it’s going to be difficult to keep the fourth.”

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