Alonso says his focus is Mercedes, not Vettel

Sat Oct 12, 2013 6:29pm EDT
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By Alan Baldwin

SUZUKA, Japan (Reuters) - Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is sure to win this year's Formula One title and Ferrari's focus is now on finishing ahead of Mercedes in the constructors' championship, Fernando Alonso said on Saturday.

Vettel enjoys a 77 point lead over the Spaniard and can secure his fourth successive championship if he wins the Japanese Grand Prix on Sunday and Alonso fails to finish in the top eight.

While Vettel qualified on the front row on Saturday, Alonso will start in eighth place.

"If Sebastian doesn't win the championship here, he will win in India or in Abu Dhabi," said the Ferrari driver, referring to the next two races of the four remaining after Japan.

"It's not our more important point of the weekend to be honest. We will not race, try to finish in the first eight to try to keep alive the championship," he continued.

"We will race, try to score as many points as possible and try to finish in front of the Mercedes. That is a very important goal for us. If we can keep the championship open until India it will be OK, but it will not change too much for us."

Ferrari are second overall and one point ahead of Mercedes in the constructors' standings with five races remaining. Red Bull are 118 points clear in the constructors'.

Both the Mercedes drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, qualified ahead of the Ferraris at Suzuka with the Briton third on the grid and the German sixth.   Continued...

Ferrari Formula One driver Fernando Alonso (C) of Spain walks in the paddock with his agent Luis Garcia Abad (L) and his press officer Roberta Vallorosi after the qualifying session of the Japanese F1 Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit October 12, 2013. REUTERS/Issei Kato