Fernando Alonso promises 'extra effort' at Italian GP

By Sarah HoltBBC Sport in Monza

Fernando Alonso says Ferrari must be flawless if they are to beat Red Bull and McLaren on home soil in Italy.

The 30-year-old Spaniard, who won in Italy during his first season at Ferrari last year, is chasing his second win of 2011 at Monza on Sunday.

"We have to be perfect if we want to be at the front," said Alonso, who is third in the championship.

"All of us [at Ferrari] will make an extra effort this weekend. It will be another close battle."

Following his win at the British Grand Prix in July this year, Alonso came close to victory in Germany and Hungary.

But the timing of a safety car at the last race in Belgium impacted his tyre strategy and he ended up slipping from the lead down to fourth.

The result saw him slip to 102 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull, who took his seventh victory of the year in Belgium, with only a maximum of 175 points still available.

As a result, the pressure and desire to add to his victory tally is now greater at the historic Monza circuit.

"There is a special motivation this weekend for all of us," added Alonso. "The mechanics and engineers have their families in the grandstands here in Monza.

"There is extra care in the things we do and we want everything to be perfect from practice to Sunday.

"This year, there are seven races to go. We want to win races, no doubt, but we are also very realistic (about our championship chances).

"We know we were not very competitive in the last grand prix and the updates in the cars will be minimal from all the teams now so we will all remain similar so it will be track-to-track and luck.

"Let's see how we go in Monza; the target for the weekend is to do well and to make the grandstands again enjoy the show."

One of the Ferrari's weaknesses is its ability to get its tyres up to optimum working temperatures, and that problem has been exacerbated by inclement weather in Germany, Hungary and Spa.

The team have also struggled to extract any pace out of the 'medium' and 'hard' Pirelli compounds - and the medium is one of the two tyres that teams have to use in Italy.

But Alonso is hopeful that higher temperatures - which reached 29C on Thursday - will help Ferrari.

"For different reasons, our car seems to be struggling with colder track temperatures and we had a difficult summer with four or five consecutive races where it was a bit damp," he said.

"It's good to know that here will be a little bit warmer, but we don't exactly know how much the performance will improve."

Vettel can also count himself as a former race-winner in Italy thanks to his surprise victory for Toro Rosso in 2008, but since stepping up to sister team Red Bull in 2009 he has yet to fniish on the podium at Monza.

"It's a circuit that does not fit to our car like others," said the world champion. "We've struggled in the past here and we are not the clear favourites this weekend.

"I'm optimistic but we do not yet know. Tomorrow [during Friday practice] it will be important for us to find out how good we can be.

"If there's a chance to win we have to go for it but if it's out of our reach here than it would be stupid to do so."