Italian GP: Fernando Alonso downplays 'idiots' jibe at Ferrari

By Andrew BensonChief F1 writer
Italian GP: Monza qualifying highlights

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso has downplayed a radio message in which he criticised his team during Italian Grand Prix qualifying.

Alonso appeared to say in Italian: "You're really idiots. Mamma mia, guys." He later said he had used "genius", which is similar in Italian.

The Spaniard will start fifth, a place behind team-mate Felipe Massa, and said it was an "extremely good qualifying".

Alonso added: "The message - some are trying to make me (out to be) angry."

He said a second message praising the team had not been broadcast and added he was confident of a strong race from his best grid position for seven grands prix.

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"It is the first time in many, many races that I will be able to see the Red Bull rear wings on the grid and on the first lap I can attack. On the first corner I can attack," he said.

"So it was an extremely, extremely good qualifying for us and a great team effort."

A source close to Ferrari said Alonso actually used both words - "geni" (geniuses) when he was coming out of the pits to start his final run and "scemi" (idiots) in a message later on in that lap, which was the one broadcast on television.

Alonso was also broadcast saying: "Felipe [Massa] is too far away!" - a reference to him realising he was too far behind his team-mate heading into his final qualifying lap to benefit from the straight-line speed boosting "tow" Ferrari had planned for him to receive from team-mate.

"We had always me following Felipe," Alonso said. "And then in the last run we had [Toro Rosso's Jean-Eric] Vergne between us in Turn Four.

"I was ready to take the slipstream of Vergne because he seemed to want to follow Felipe so I prepared the tyres a little and then Vergne let me by and I had no-one in front.

"So I said in the radio: 'Maybe Felipe is a little too far now if we want to do this.' So they slowed him down and he waited for me a little in Parabolica and we started the last attempt more or less the same distance as before.

"So I have to say thank you to the team and to Felipe for this 10th [of a second], that helped me to do the last attempt in Q3.

"They didn't put [out] the last radio message, when I said: 'Thank you to Felipe and thank you to the team; it was perfect at the end.'

"It's OK. I am 12 years in F1 and this is Saturday. Every Saturday there is a repetition. Explanation to people asking 'why, why [is it] bad now, the championship is finished etc'. And tomorrow maybe there is rain, maybe I win the race and [people will be saying] 'it is a very easy championship for you now to the end'. This is the way it is."

Alonso said he was hopeful he would be able to challenge title rival Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull in the race.

Vettel is starting from pole and is 46 points ahead of Alonso in the championship.

Lewis Hamilton 'drove like an idiot' in Italian GP qualifying

"Normally the worst point for us is the Saturdays. We have always three or four cars between us and the Red Bulls so, we start, we pass those cars and then we see the Red Bulls 10 seconds ahead of us and then more or less we keep that gap for the race.

"So we are very happy because hopefully after the start or first corner, we don't have these three or four cars in front of us.

"We don't have [Lewis] Hamilton, Kimi [Raikkonen], [Romain] Grosjean... all these people who slow us a little bit in the first part of the races because we have a great pace normally on Sundays.

"So if we have the great pace we normally show on Sundays I don't see any reason why we can't follow the Red Bulls."

Vettel's team-mate Mark Webber starts second, with the Sauber of Nico Hulkenberg a surprise third.

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