Ferrari will build on 'dream' season, insists Fernando Alonso

 

Sao Paulo

When Sebastian Vettel snatched the 2010 World Championship from beneath his nose in Abu Dhabi in the last race of the season, insiders say that Fernando Alonso wept inconsolably in the Ferrari garage for an hour and a half. The defeat – based on flawed strategic thinking as Ferrari kept an eye on Mark Webber and shadowed his pit stops instead of watching Vettel, and a lengthy spell trapped behind Vitaly Petrov's fleet Renault with no DRS to facilitate overtaking – cost Englishman Chris Dyer his job at Ferrari and tore out the Spaniard's heart.

Another defeat on a rainy Sunday afternoon in Brazil last weekend didn't have the same effect.

Alonso's stare was stony-eyed as he climbed from his Ferrari which he had dragged into second place thanks, in no small measure, to the unselfish and sporting behaviour of his underrated team-mate Felipe Massa. But far from breaking him, the defeat will make him even more dangerous in 2013.

Even though his car was generally second best to those of Red Bull and McLaren this year, Alonso said it had been his best in a Formula One career that began with Minardi in 2001. "The championship was not lost here," he said in Interlagos. "The championship was lost when Romain Grosjean flew over my head at Spa or when Vettel surprisingly only got a reprimand after qualifying in Japan."

"So, for sure, there you lose a couple of points. There were also some races that we have some strange decisions let's say, and some penalties, so maybe we lost also there. But that's the sport. Even though I finished second in the points I have never had such respect and the affection from everybody in the paddock.

"This is the first time that I have got drivers, ex-drivers, teams, fans to say that we have done the best championship. We'll be back as strong in 2013, because it would be harder to be stronger. I have a great feeling after 2012, by far the best year of my career."

He said the Brazilian race typified the problems he has had in qualifying all year, which often meant starting on his back foot and having to fight through.

"I think we didn't have the quickest car, as it has been obvious in all races, and it was a miracle that we were fighting for the championship here. And it was a miracle until the final lap, because thanks to the team's perfect work we have found ourselves in this position. And even though we lost the championship, we have to be proud to have finished second."

He also praised the contribution made, especially in the latter half of the year, by Massa. "For sure it was a very, very good second part of the year for him, with some podiums and some very good performances," Alonso said.

"If I found myself fighting for the World Championship at the last race it's also thanks to teamwork. There is a lot of tests that Felipe was doing in the simulator in the summer and there is the Friday practice where you can share the programme and you can trust the results.

"There's maximum trust, maximum confidence in Felipe's work every time in the races, in practice, in the simulator. We are a team. We are united. And in the last two, three races, there was also some help in the race itself in terms of positions gained, et cetera."

Far from weeping, he said he felt very satisfied. "I think it's a very good feeling what I have now. It was very frustrating maybe in Abu Dhabi two years ago because we have the title in our hands and we lost it. Here is completely the opposite. I'm so proud and I'm so happy to fight until the last lap with the package we have in our hands.

"That is the best thing for me, to feel proud of myself, it was by far the best season of my career and I will remember this 2012 like some dream season," Alonso added.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Books should be for everyone, says Els, 8. Publisher Scholastic now agrees
booksAn eight-year-old saw a pirate book was ‘for boys’ and took on the publishers
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions