Motor racing-Alonso backs strategy and title hopes

NUERBURGRING, Germany, July 7 Sun Jul 7, 2013 5:35pm BST

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NUERBURGRING, Germany, July 7 (Reuters) - Fernando Alonso has seen too much drama in Formula One to rule out another championship bid despite rival Sebastian Vettel taking maximum points in Germany and Ferrari's bold tyre strategy only partly working.

The Spaniard finished fourth on Sunday to stay second in the standings as Red Bull's triple world champion won for the first time at home to extend his overall lead to 34 points.

Very much like last week at the British Grand Prix, Alonso started eighth at the Nuerburgring but fought his way up the field after Ferrari made a deliberate strategic call not to fight for pole position and start the race instead on the longer-lasting medium tyres rather than the quicker softs.

A late tyre change to the softs had the Spaniard catching up but he was left with too much to do.

"It was a very good strategy. It was a strategy that gave us the possibility to fight for the podium," the 2005 and 2006 champion told reporters.

"We were not quick enough today, we didn't have the pace and even with that we tried for the podium and were very close to the leading group."

With no title but some very near misses in his three years at Ferrari, Alonso is well aware of the fickle hand of fate and still has his eye on the drivers' championship despite Vettel's form and the Lotuses starting to look quicker than the Italians.

"We've seen stranger things in Formula One," he said.

"When the cars are so close, when they are so sensitive to changes, temperatures, loads, things like that, when you find something magical that changes the performance you can be competitive straight away," he said after a quick change into jeans from his racing suit.

"The hope is there. We have time to make it up...but we must make a step forward."

Ten races remain this season, with the next grand prix in Hungary on July 28 when another type of Pirelli tyres will be employed after they rushed out upgraded ones for Germany following last weekend's dangerous blow-outs at Silverstone.

"The tyres were good, there were no more problems with safety," Alonso said, hoping the same would be the case in Budapest.

He has previously expressed reluctance to drive at a specially-organised Silverstone test before Hungary in case there are more blowouts. (Editing by Alan Baldwin)

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