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Page last updated at 15:17 GMT, Saturday, 26 June 2010 16:17 UK

Fernando Alonso says Ferrari must close up on Red Bull

Highlights - European GP qualifying

Ferrari star Fernando Alonso has said that the team need to keep improving after qualifying fourth for the European Grand Prix in Valencia.

Ferrari had anticipated a major step forward in Spain because of a new update package, but were unable to match the pace-setting Red Bulls.

"At this stage half a second off Red Bull is too much. We need to keep improving," said Alonso.

"We had high hopes with our new package, but everyone made a big step."

Two-time world champion Alonso claimed that fourth and fifth positions for himself and team-mate Felipe Massa represented "a fantastic result for the team.


"It's been now many races since we were both in the top five, and we've been struggling. Hopefully we have a good opportunity to win points (in the race)."

Ferrari's upgrade for Valencia centred around their Red Bull-style blown diffuser , whereby the exhaust gases are routed through the car's rear diffuser and around the rear wheels to improve aerodynamics and increase grip, mainly on high-speed corners.

Alonso said that Ferrari failed to make the gains on the softer 'option' tyre that other teams enjoyed, but that he is confident of the team's pace on the harder 'prime' tyre, which they will run for the majority of the race.

Alonso was fourth fastest in European GP qualifying
Fernando Alonso claimed fourth on the grid for the European Grand Prix

"We were struggling a little bit with the soft," he said. "It's difficult to know the reasons. We feel more comfortable with the prime this weekend and were more competitive in first qualifying (using the prime).

"I think we have a competitive race pace. You saw yesterday we did a couple of laps on the soft tyre with no big problems and the prime, so we have high hopes. The podium remains a clear target."

Alonso also said he made "no mistakes", despite what appeared to be a scruffy hot lap on his final qualifying run, and several other similar laps through the course of practice and qualifying on Saturday.

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see also
I'm here to stay, says Schumacher
26 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Vettel takes pole for European GP
26 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Mercedes not good enough - Brawn
26 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
European GP qualifying as it happened
26 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso heads European GP practice
25 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso optimistic of strong race
24 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Ferrari still contenders - Alonso
16 Jun 10 |  Formula 1
Alonso poised for leap to the front
15 Jun 10 |  Formula 1

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