Fernando Alonso says even if he is unsuccessful in his bid to win the Formula 1 world championship in the Brazilian Grand Prix, he and Ferrari should still be immensely proud of having taken the title fight to the season finale.
The Spaniard needs to overcome a 13-point deficit to rival Sebastian Vettel at Interlagos, which means at the minimum he needs to finish on the podium if the reigning champion fails to score.
With Alonso starting seventh, three places behind Vettel, he knows he needs a turnaround in form in the race if he is to bring the title back to Maranello.
But rather than feel that his season will be a letdown if he does not secure the crown, Alonso reckons simply to have kept up his challenge to the last race is a success considering how uncompetitive the Ferrari F2012 was at the first test.
"If I had done a standard championship then I would have something like 110 points now, and I would have said goodbye to the championship around Hungary or Singapore," he declared.
"I would then have done the last races with no pressure like last year, when I was not fighting for anything.
"Luckily, having had an abnormal championship has taken us to have the feeling that here it's all or nothing. So we have to erase that nothing, especially for us.
"Probably for the fans it will be a big joy or a big disappointment and it's understandable.
"But for us it has to be a prize if we achieve it and if we don't then we should be proud of having done our job in the best possible way."
Alonso headed into the campaign aware that he needed to limit the damage caused by Ferrari's lack of competitiveness, but in the end moved clear at the head of the title standings.
He enjoyed a healthy lead heading into the summer, but first lap exits in Belgium and Japan allowed his rivals to close him down - and Ferrari had little in response to Red Bull's upsurge in form since the Singapore GP.
VETTEL WINS THE TITLE IF:
- He finishes in the top four
- He finishes fifth, sixth or seventh and Alonso doesn't win
- He finishes eighth or ninth and Alonso is third or lower
- He finishes 10th or worse and Alonso isn't on the podium
ALONSO WINS THE TITLE IF:
- He wins and Vettel is fifth or lower
- He is second and Vettel eighth or lower
- He is third and Vettel is 10th or lower
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