November 17th, 2013 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - Fernando Alonso has wrapped up the battle for second place in the Drivers' Championship, but putting himself more than a race victory ahead of Lewis Hamilton with just one race left in the season.
Alonso said of his second place in the championship: "I am very proud of this second place in the Drivers’ Championship, it’s a small reward for me, the same as being first of the 'mortals' behind Red Bull."
Although he has expressed pride in his position in this year's championship, Alonso is naturally after the spot currently occupied by Sebastian Vettel and will continue to fight in typically gritty fashion until he has won another world title.
On Saturday, Alonso qualfied sixth for the United States Grand Prix, which was quite an achievement as the Ferrari did not seem to have sufficient pace to reach Q3. In fact, Felipe Massa in the other Ferrari was only 15th fastest in qualfiying. On Sunday, Alonso lost a position off the start, but then recovered two places over the course of the race to finish fifth. He described his afternoon in Austin:
"Finishing in the top five today is a very positive result when you consider how difficult this weekend has been and the fact I had to start from the dirty side of the track. We were well aware it would be very difficult to maintain position andin fact I lost it to Perez.
"In the first part of the race, we weren’t quick and we decided to save the tyres and then attack round the pit stop. We were more competitive on the Hards, we passed Perez and set off to get Hulkenberg, but even if our situation compared to Mercedes has improved, we were unable to beat them."
Alonso's United States Grand Prix weekend was compromised before it began by back pain for the Spaniard. Alonso was subjected to an impact in excess of 25G when he ran over a kerb at high speed during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix two weeks ago. Although he has received treatment for the injury and was passed fit for the United States Grand Prix, Alonso was nonetheless in some discomfort throughout the weekend, which makes his performance all the more impressive.
With just a few days until the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend gets underway, the state of Alonso's back will no doubt be a point of concern for Ferrari, who are currently 15 points behind Mercedes in the race for second place in the Constructors' Championship. Alonso explained his situation:
"My back is okay, as I did a good warm-up before the race and it didn’t bother me. I feel more tired from all the tension of the race, but now I have three days to rest and arrive in Brazil feeling a hundred percent. We really must improve there, because our goal is still to finish second in the Constructor’s Championship."