Alonso will start only seventh for Ferrari at Interlagos, while Vettel and his Red Bull will be fourth on the grid. That’s exactly the position the German driver needs to finish to successfully defend his 13-point lead over Alonso, who needs to reach at least the podium to have a chance.
“Given how the last few races have gone, my chances of making it to the podium are still intact,” he said. “That will be my objective because I know that, at least under normal circumstances, we are not in with a chance of fighting for the win.”
Alonso hasn’t won since the German GP in July, but he’s finished on the podium in six of the last seven races to keep the pressure on Vettel. He also started seventh in last week’s United States GP and managed to finish third. If that happens again on Sunday, Vettel needs to finish 10th or worse to become F1’s youngest three-time champion at 25.
“If I am to have any hopes for the title, it’s more plausible to count on a retirement for Vettel rather than for him to finish in a position where I can get ahead of him in the classification,” Alonso said. “Obviously, I am therefore hoping for a chaotic race and so the rain could be an important factor even if, in the wet, it is riskier for everyone.”
Alonso said that win or lose, he was proud of Ferrari’s performance this season with an inferior car.
“It’s almost a miracle to have arrived at the last race still in the fight for the title,” he said. “Under normal circumstances, I think we would have said goodbye to our chances back in Monza or Singapore. However, here we are, still in the game and we are definitely not going to surrender.”
A decent result may not give Alonso the title but it might secure Ferrari second place in the constructors’ championship. Red Bull clinched the title last week, but McLaren can still overcome Ferrari for second. It will help that Massa will start fifth at his home track on Sunday.
“All we can do is prepare as well as possible,” Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said. “We know exactly what we have to do: Be perfect and ready to make the most of every opportunity.”
Alonso won both of his titles at Interlagos, in 2005 and ‘06.
Follow Tales Azzoni at http://twitter.com/tazzoni
'Your papers, please' must never be heard in America
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
A collection of reader guest articles, thoughts and opinions by Communities writers and breaking news and information.
Reflections on raising families in a holistic way -- with a focus on nutrition and alternative health.
Join the Communities and submit your column in response to one written, or on something totally new and unique. We want to hear from you
A carefully guided tour through the confusing world of modern bookselling and publishing.
Benghazi: The anatomy of a scandal
Vietnam Memorial adds four names
Cinco de Mayo on the Mall