The Korean thriller turned the F1 world championship upside down

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After it has been raining almost all day before the start, the chaotic premiere of Korea did not really get going until about an hour after the official start time. Thanks to the delays and round about 60 safety-car-minutes, the thrilling race ended under the dark sky of Yeongam with the 5th win of the season for PUMA supplied Scuderia Ferrari Malboro driver Fernando Alonso.

After two DNFs of Red Bull Racing for the first time this year, Fernando Alonso managed to finish first followed by Lewis Hamilton and Felipe Massa. Thanks to this victory in the first running Korean Grand Prix, the Prancing Horse has brought its total of wins to 215 from 819 Grand Prix starts. That means that Fernando Alonso now leads the top of Formula 1 driver standings 11 points ahead of Mark Webber, 21 points ahead of Lewis Hamilton respectively and 25 points ahead of Sebastian Vettel.

Fernando Alonso: “It is a great feeling winning this way, as it was a very difficult victory, given the track conditions. Especially at the start, the situation on track and in terms of visibility was really precarious. That was the most worrying time, because I knew it would be an achievement just to stay on the track. We had never driven here in the wet and so there was no reference point. Webber’s retirement slightly changed our approach because, all in all, it would have been sufficient to finish on the podium without taking too many risks. The final stages were particularly difficult because half the track was almost dry and the tyres were getting ruined really quickly. I witnessed both Red Bull problems from very close up: in these situations you try and stay super-concentrated, because you are coming from a high speed corner and there is no time to think. Clearly, this was a great help for our championship chances, but luck proves that Formula 1 is not just about the maths! If you then think about what happened at races such as Valencia and Silverstone, you can really say that what goes around comes around. Now there are still fifty points up for grabs: Red Bull are still favourite, but we will continue to do our utmost and try to always get onto the podium. The car has improved so much in the second half of the year thanks to continuous updates: maybe we have come away with more than we expected, but we know the situation can change from one weekend to the next. All the same, these results are fully deserved by the team and my dream is to see everyone in it happy…”

Felipe Massa: “A great result at the end of a very difficult race. I am very pleased, for myself and for the team. Fernando did a great job. After two poor weekends, I am happy to have stepped up onto the podium once again. I also want to thank the race director who did an excellent job of managing the situation, making the right decisions as to when to start the race and when to bring in the Safety Car at the right moment. By the end, it was almost dark and the intermediate tyres were deteriorating, especially the rears: there is a light on the steering wheel which is very bright and in these conditions it was quite distracting. We were a bit lucky, but we also did a good job, proving to be competitive even on this track. How will things go in Interlagos and Abu Dhabi? It’s hard to say, as the two tracks are very different one to the other. It will be important to have a car capable of fighting for a podium place and then try not to make any mistakes.”

Luca di Montezemolo: “What I am most pleased about is that we have shown that with determination, hard work, level headedness and the will to win, we can get out of the most difficult situations. We are a team that never gives up and we showed that yet again today,” said the Ferrari President. “I want to congratulate the entire team, who worked in impeccable fashion, Fernando who was exceptional and Felipe who brought home a very important third place: it was great to see him on the podium with his team-mate and Chris Dyer. “Now however, we must keep our feet on the ground,” continued Montezemolo. “The championship is still very open and we know we are up against very strong opponents. We will have to tackle the final two races with even higher levels of concentration, paying attention to every little detail.”

Stefano Domenicali: “First of all, let’s just keep calm about this! This has been a fantastic day, in which we have turned around the situation in the Drivers’ championship and also, albeit partially, put us back in a stronger position in the Constructors’ classification. However, we are well aware the hardest part begins now. There are two races to go: we must tackle them with the same ferocious determination which has seen us fight back in a way many thought impossible. I have said it so often in the past, but I want to repeat it even today: what counts the most in this final part of the season is for the team and the drivers to keep a cool head, along with reliability and concentration. This weekend we proved capable of doing that even in very unusual conditions like those we experienced today. We are up against very strong opposition, especially in the shape of a team that has managed to take 14 poles from 17 races: to be in this position with just two races to go is already significant. First of all I want to thank our drivers: they were great, not making the slightest mistake, managing a very stressful race in very difficult conditions. The team worked very well and the little problem at Fernando’s pit stop was soon recovered on track. As usual, our thanks extend to our commercial and technical partners, starting with Philip Morris, the Santander Bank and Shell, the latter bringing us a new fuel here which also helped. Finally, I want to say it is an honour for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro to be the first name to go on the winner’s trophy for the Korean Grand Prix, in a country that is expanding rapidly and a market that is also growing in importance in terms of our road cars.


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