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today is Dec 02, 2021

In the round-up: Fernando Alonso says he is ready to fight Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen for the championship next year – if his car is quick enough.

In brief

Alonso ready for 2022 title fight

While Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi recently set a 100-race target for the team to become a competitive force in Formula 1 again Alonso says he is ready to fight next year if the team produces a front-running car for the new technical regulations.

“It’s difficult to predict what is going to happen in the next few years,” said Alonso, who finished third behind Hamilton and Verstappen on Sunday. “But I would love to be in the fight with them and whoever makes a good car next year.

“It’s a reset for everybody and it’s up to us to produce a fast car. It’s not like this year, which was a continuation of the last campaign. In 2022 everyone has the same cards so we need to play smarter and hopefully produce a fast car.

“If we are in that position I feel strong, I feel ready to take the battle and let’s see.”

Poor start squandered car’s pace – Vettel

Sebastian Vettel admitted he “could have started 18th” after losing seven places at the start of Sunday’s grand prix.

“I was a bit squeezed because Valtteri [Bottas] had a bad start and I had nowhere to go. Then there was a lot of dust, a lot of cars around me and I lost the car in turn one, trying to recover some of the positions and went to wide and lost basically all the positions.”

He recovered to score a point but team mate Lance Stroll used the AMR01’s strong race pace to score his best result of the season with sixth.

“The car was pretty quick,” said Vettel. “Once we had free air we were, I think, having the same pace on the softs than the cars in front.

“We came from 18th somehow back to P10 which is a reasonable recovery. We held off the AlphaTauri and overtook a McLaren. So it’s been a strong race but obviously just starting on the back foot hurts.”

Mercedes made gains without upgrades – Hamilton

Having won the last two races in a row, Lewis Hamilton said Mercedes’ improvement in form has come through set-up work, without introducing new parts to their car since July.

“As the year’s gone on we’ve understood the car more, we’ve definitely been able to squeeze more performance out of the package without bringing any upgrades,” he explained. “We’ve not had an upgrade since Silverstone, so it’s quite phenomenal to see the small bits, the increments that we’ve been improving.

Hamilton has cut championship rival Max Verstappen’s lead to eight points with two races remaining.

“It’s very close between the two cars, clearly, so I think that lines us up for a great battle,” he said. “But in these last two, I think we’ve just been able to do a better job overall. I hope that we can take this form into those next two.”

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