Defending world champion Fernando Alonso is not worried about Michael Schumacher’s current dominant form, despite being beaten by his rival for the third race in a row.
Schumacher’s fourth victory in his home race, the German Grand Prix, helped him slash Alonso’s championship lead from 17 points to 11 as the Renault driver finished fifth after his worst performance of the season.
But Spaniard Alonso (25) is not flustered by the oncoming Ferrari train and knows that he only has to stay ahead of Schumacher — as he has been since the start of the season — to ensure back-to-back world titles.
Alonso said: ”I am not worried as long as I am in front of him. It is true if we keep going like this in three or four races we will be equal for points and that is not good for me.
”But I will do the maximum I can. As long as I can do the maximum, I am happy. The team have to do the maximum, [tyre supplier] Michelin have to do the maximum.”
Alonso, who has won six times this year, predicted that Renault will halt their current slide in form at the scene of his first win — the Hungarian Grand Prix in Budapest next weekend.
Alonso added: ”I am totally sure in Hungary we will be back with the right set-up and tyres.
”I still think we can do it [win in Hungary], for sure.”
Predictably, seven-time world champion Schumacher had a different opinion.
The German (37) believes that Ferrari will continue their crushing current form in the East European nation next weekend.
He said: ”Naturally, with the performance we have shown in the last three races against our competitors it gives us great confidence that at least for some more races we can probably keep that, and hopefully reduce the gap in the championship pretty significantly.”
With an enforced six-week testing ban starting after the Hungaroring race, and no time to test before it, Schumacher, whose German triumph was his 89th Grand Prix win, sees no reason why his current hot streak will end.
Schumacher added: ”I think we mean that we have had the edge on the other guys for three races, and we have to use this situation as long as we can.
”The test ban doesn’t really help if you’re in trouble [like Renault] because you can’t really sort out those troubles if you have some.
”But it’s not really about the test ban, it’s simply the performance we have and we have to keep this advantage as long as we can.”
Although Ferrari have a clear performance advantage over Renault at the moment, their team chief Jean Todt does not believe anybody in the team can afford any let-ups unless they overhaul their rivals in the championships.
Todt said: ”We still have to beat him [Alonso], because he’s still eleven points in front of us and eleven times he’s scored points.
”You have a race where it doesn’t work for different reasons as well as it has been since the beginning of the season, and immediately you conclude that you are better. So at the moment they are better because they are in front.
”It will be a turning point if we get ahead of them. Not until.” — AFP