F1: Alonso Rates Rivals As Massa Urges Equal Status Photo:
Mike Stevens | Feb, 16 2011 | 0 Comments

Fernando Alonso has given a fascinating insight into how he rates his closest rivals in F1.

The Ferrari driver was asked by the Spanish sports daily AS to summarise his feelings about challengers Sebastian Vettel, Mark Webber, Jenson Button, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton and his own teammate Felipe Massa.

On World Champion Vettel, Alonso answered: "Very fast and precise. If he is coming first in a race, he is difficult to stop."

In the other Red Bull, Mark Webber is "experienced, calm and very consistent. It is very rare to see him fail."

According to Alonso, 2009 World Champion Jenson Button "has a great instinct for difficult races in rain or with the safety car. This is an unique talent," he added.

Michael Schumacher had a difficult return to F1 in 2010 but "he is the champion, we all respect him and he is a driver always capable of surprising", 29-year-old Alonso said.

Alonso said his own teammate Massa is "very quick, knows the team and is very hungry to win".

Arguably the highest praise, however, is reserved for Alonso's former arch nemesis Lewis Hamilton.

"He is a great driver and maybe the fastest at the moment in Formula One," he said.

Alonso also hit back at claims that while he is universally rated as perhaps F1's best driver, he is far from the most popular.

"There are more than 30,000 people here," he said at last week's Jerez test.

"The people who speak badly about me then tremble and cry when they want to have their picture taken with me.

"There is a difference between how brave people feel writing on the internet, and when I see the admiration I receive all around the world," he added.

"I also think it's easier to write that there are so many people who are anti-Alonso than to write that 30,000 people came to a test to see me."



Massa Urges Ferrari Not To Favour Alonso

Felipe Massa has repeated his desire for equal number one status alongside Ferrari teammate Fernando Alonso in 2011.

While Alonso pushed for the title in his first season with the famous team, incumbent Massa struggled notably last year.

But he is reportedly much happier with the new Pirelli tyres, showing well at recent test sessions with Ferrari's newly renamed F150th Italia.

However, it was Massa who was ordered aside for Alonso at Hockenheim last year, triggering the FIA's controversial decision to legalised team orders in 2011 and beyond.

But Massa said being Ferrari's permanent number two is not in his plans.

"Choosing a number one driver too soon reduces the (team's) chances to win the championship from two to one," he told La Stampa newspaper in Italy.

Massa has previously blamed Bridgestone for his 2010 struggles, but in the interview he said he takes "full responsibility" for his performance last year.

"As to my capacities, I know how to win -- races and also the championship," said the 29-year-old, who came tantalisingly close to beating Lewis Hamilton to the crown in 2008.

And as for the new Pirellis, Massa insists: "Compared to the Bridgestones, they are working better for me. They are as I like them."



Vettel Still Eyeing Future Ferrari Switch

Sebastian Vettel has reconfirmed his desire to one day switch to the Ferrari team.

The new World Champion and his current team Red Bull have recently been playing down the speculation about 23-year-old Vettel's career beyond his current contract.

But the Italian daily Libero quotes him as saying last week at Jerez: "I would like to be on the podium at Monza with Ferrari.

"One day I do hope to be with the team from Maranello," added Vettel.

"However, I am happy to stay with Red Bull and even now there are a lot of Italians who support me," said the German.


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