F1: Alonso aims to roar at home grand prix

Spaniard only sets fifth-best time in Friday practice

F1: Alonso aims to roar at home grand prix

(By Paul Virgo) Rome, September 6 - Fernando Alonso is aiming to delight the Italian fans at Ferrari's home grand prix on Sunday and boost his hopes of whittling down Sebastian Vettel's big championship lead. The Spaniard needs a victory in the final European race of the season to keep himself in with a good chance of the title ahead of the remaining contests in Asia and the Middle East, most of which are at tracks considered favourable to Red Bull's three-time world champ Vettel. Alonso, who won the 2005 and 2006 world titles with Renault, is second in the drivers' standings with 151 points with eight races to go, 46 behind Germany's Vettel. He is optimistic he can start winding Vettel in at the legendary Monza circuit. "The track characteristics should help our performance so we have everything in place to have a good weekend," he told reporters. "We need to deliver on Sunday in the race, but we arrive with confidence and ready to fight. "For a better test of how we are improving (our car) we must wait for Singapore, when we will run maximum downforce. "For now, we will concentrate on this weekend, trying to do the maximum and finish ahead of our main rivals". Alonso notched the fifth-fastest time in Friday's free practice, with Vettel setting the pace with a fastest lap of 1:24.453. But Ferrari Team Principal Stefano Domenicali is not worried. "The race speed of the Ferraris is excellent," Domenicali told a news conference. "And it's obvious that the Red Bulls are lapping with less petrol (making them faster)". On Thursday Alonso deflated speculation linking him to Red Bull, saying he was committed to the Italian glamour team long term. "There were rumours about Red Bull, there were rumours in Italy about a sabbatical year, there were so many rumours," the Spaniard said. "I still have three and a half more years with Ferrari which I intend to respect and hopefully to increase a little bit. "I want finish my career in the best team in the world which is Ferrari".

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