Alonso laughs off teammate Massa’s challenge

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SHANGHAI (AP) - Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso responded sarcastically to the qualifying edge currently enjoyed by teammate Felipe Massa, saying he can’t sleep and is losing his hair.

Massa has qualified ahead of Alonso in the past four races _ the first two this season and the last two last year _ and if he does it again this weekend in the Chinese Grand Prix it will be the first time in Alonso’s career that he has been outqualified by a teammate five straight times.

“I haven’t slept since Australia. I’m only eating white rice. I’m losing my hair. A huge drama,” Alonso quipped when asked about the statistic. “After 200 races, it’s very surprising that two qualifying sessions matter so much. I’m pleased that it’s so important, because it means that when I finish ahead of him it will mean I have done a stratospheric lap. We’ll see if I can pull that magic here or later this year.”

Alonso said qualifying was of decreasing importance in F1’s Pirelli tire era, with more emphasis placed on tire management.

“There were years when it was vital to start from the first row or from pole position, but since Pirelli arrived qualifying has become less and less important,” Alonso said. “In the first two races of the season, Kimi (Raikkonen) won pretty easily in Australia starting from seventh and anyone could have won in Malaysia.”

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