Alonso targeting Japanese Grand Prix success

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso says the team must step up its efforts at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix to keep up its push to snatch the Formula One championship.

Alonso goes to Japan with the momentum of having won the past two races in Italy and Singapore, rising to second in the drivers' championship standings, 11 points behind Red Bull's Mark Webber.

"These two consecutive wins have reduced the gap that had built up but we are definitely not leading yet," Alonso said on Ferrari's official website. "Now it starts getting serious, we will have to experience some pain and it is time for everyone to give their all, without taking a single backward step."

With four races left, the season has come down to a five-way fight for the title with McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button holding third and fifth places respectively, while Webber's Red Bull teammate Sebastian Vettel is in fourth place.

Two-time world champion Alonso clearly has the momentum. Not only has he won the last two races but the Spaniard claimed pole position for both races and had the fastest laps. No other driver has done that this season, and the feat was achieved on two radically different circuits — indicating the Ferrari can perform on all tracks.

"There are still five drivers in the hunt for the title," Alonso said. "So many times this year we have seen that the situation can change really quickly, so anything could still happen."

Vettel, who won last year's race at Suzuka, finished right on Alonso's tail in Singapore.

"Ferrari has made a step forward in the last couple of races, so they will be strong and don't forget McLaren," Vettel said. "There are still a lot of drivers fighting for the title and they are very close to each other, it's tight and a lot of things can still happen."

Webber finished a distant third in Singapore, and he, Vettel and Red Bull are up against title rivals who have all previously won the drivers' championship.

"I'm optimistic we can do well in Japan and the team did well there last year," Webber said. "The momentum is currently with Ferrari going into the race, as they have had two victories on the bounce, but the points situation is still very open."

Hamilton led the championship after winning the Canadian Grand Prix in June but has struggled recently, not finishing three of the last four races including both Italy and Singapore where he crashed out while attempting ambitious passing maneuvers.

Webber and Vettel may take points off each other during the remaining races, as will the McLaren duo. Alonso doesn't have that problem since his Ferrari teammate, Felipe Massa, is out of contention.

Another factor in the championship race is the status of the Korean Grand Prix which follows the race here and is scheduled for Oct. 24.

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone expressed concerns at the Singapore GP over whether the track will pass inspection. Under FIA rules, if the track does not pass its inspection, the Korean GP will be scrapped for both the 2010 and 2011 seasons.

A FIA inspection team will head to Korea from Japan for an inspection of the Yeongam track on Oct. 11. If the race in Korea is scrapped, there will be only three more races this season rather than four, putting added importance up results in Japan.

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Dunham
booksLena Dunham's memoirs - written at the age of 28 - are honest to the point of making you squirm
Arts and Entertainment
A bit rich: Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey
tvDownton Abbey review: It's six months since we last caught up with the Crawley clan
Frank Lampard and his non-celebration
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
A new app has been launched that enables people to have a cuddle from a stranger
techNew app offers 'PG alternative' to dating services like Tinder
Jacqueline Bisset has claimed that young women today are obsessed with being 'hot', rather than 'charming', 'romantic' or 'beautiful'
Arts and Entertainment
Jake Quickenden sings his heart out in his second audition
tvX Factor: How did the Jakes - and Charlie Martinez - fare?
premier league
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
Plenty to ponder: Amir Khan has had repeated problems with US immigration because of his Muslim faith and now American television may shun him
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments