Alonso counting on experience to calm nerves

Last updated at 10:54 08 September 2007


Fernando Alonso believes his experience as reigning double world champion will

help him avoid the stress and nerves of the current title fight.

Alonso heads into tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix trailing McLaren team-mate

Lewis Hamilton by five points with five races remaining.

Alonso pole hungary

With Ferrari drivers Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen also in close attendance,

the championship race this year threatens to go to the wire, as it did last

season.

On that occasion Alonso concedes he was beset with nerves as the grand prix in

Brazil turned into a showdown between himself and now retired seven-time world

champion Michael Schumacher.

"Every driver has a lot of self confidence," said Alonso on the current

championship situation.

"We all think we can do it and are ready for the challenge of the last five

races. For sure, I am thinking the same.

"I feel confident I can beat the other drivers, but I have a lot of respect

for all of them, so I know it's not easy.

"But the experience of the last two championships, of pressure, of winning, of

fighting for the title in the last race of last year, if it happens again this

year, maybe I won't be as nervous.

"Last year I knew that if anything happened then I would lose the

championship.

"Last year I was very stressed in that race. If it happens again, then

hopefully I will be less stressed.

"But with all four drivers fighting for the title, we have self-confidence and

we believe we can do it.

"Even if I have experience of those type of races, they are good enough to do

the job as well. There won't be a big difference."

In 2005 and 2006 when he won his titles with Renault, Alonso led from the

front, but this year he is the hunter rather than the hunted.

That brings its own challenges, with the 26-year-old adding: "It's more

comfortable to be in front because you just need to control the gap in the

championship.

"You always control the situation better. You are more confident because you

can make a mistake, or the race can be bad and nothing happens.

"When you are behind it's a bit more difficult, and this year being behind is

more difficult.

"You cannot have a DNF (did not finish) or make a mistake because the gap is

too much.

"For sure it's much better to be at the front, but it's not the case for me at

the moment, so I need the last five races to be perfect.

"You need to do a perfect weekend if you want to finish in front of

everybody.

"If I don't do that then I won't win, but I will try to do my best.

"But there's no more pressure or stress, it's just difficult, and when

something goes wrong in a race, you need to be mentally strong.

"So I am prepared to have a tough, difficult weekend. I expect a very close

fight with Ferrari, as it has been for the last three or four races."

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