LONDON, June 18, 2011 (AFP) - Two-times world champion Fernando Alonso heads home for the European Grand Prix next week still believing he has a chance of derailing runaway leader Sebastian Vettel's charge towards a second drivers' world championship.
Ferrari's 29-year-old Iberian ace has conceded that his prospects for a third title are not bright, but remains adamant that he will not give up hope until he is mathematically ruled out of contention.
Alonso, whose best finish this season was his second place for Ferrari behind German Vettel of Red Bull at last month's Monaco Grand Prix, said: "No, the title is not gone because mathematically it is still alive.
"We have seen retirements in the past years, like Hamilton in Monza and Singapore last year. And if you win two races, and Vettel retires, the gap can close a lot. It is still close enough.
"But it is true it is not in our hands so we just need to concentrate race by race, try to do our best race-by-race, be on the podium and try to win some Grands Prix. It's all we can do.
"And it is up to them (Red Bull) to make some mistakes but, if not, they have a very good position in the championship."
Alonso is 92 points behind Vettel, 23, in the title race after just seven of this year's 19 Grands Prix, but has had little in the way of good luck - including last weekend in Montreal where a combination of stormy weather and a collision with eventual winner Briton Jenson Button wrecked his race.
He now needs four wins, with Vettel failing to score, to haul back that deficit and reignite his title bid and said this week that he is confident that Ferrari have a car to ensure he remains competitive on the streets of
Valencia next weekend.
"I think I could have won in Montreal last week, if the conditions were dry, but it was wet weather and in those conditions anything can happen. In the wet, you need to be lucky with the racing positions.
"Now, we just hope that all the luck that has not been around for the last races will be on our side in Valencia. We need a win and I hope we can get one now."