July 26th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Fernando Alonso has emphasised the importance of strong qualifying ahead of Sunday's Hungarian Grand Prix, saying that he'd rather set his Ferrari up to be quick in qualifying (and thereby secure a strong good position) and therefore compromise race setup than be quick in the race but have to fight his way through the field on the tight and twisty Hungaroring.
After Monaco, Hungary is the race at which it is most difficult to pass on the F1 calendar. There are almost no straights (just the start-finish straight which is not very long), very little gap between corners and no high-speed corners in which to make use of a superior car to catch up to a car in front. As a result, we are not likely to see much in the way of overtaking in Sunday's race.
After practice, Alonso expressed no particular concerns about Pirelli's revised tyres, commenting that the team's 2012 data would be relevant as the tyres have the same construction as they did last year. All that has changed is the compound. Alonso said, "The type of tyre has not changed, so we can count on last year’s experience and apart from that, they are the same for everyone. To gain an advantage over our rivals, it helps to understand them as well and as quickly as possible."
Knowing just how difficult it is to overtake at the Hungaroring, Alonso said, "Here, more than at other tracks, starting from the front is extremely important and for this reason I believe that everyone will try and optimise their cars for qualifying, even if it means sacrificing a bit for the race”. Alonso has yet to start from the front row this season, as Ferrari have not shown much in the way of qualifying pace. That could be set to change tomorrow if Ferrari decide to focus on a strong qualifying setup for the Spaniard's car.