Ferrari's Fernando Alonso says the F1 title is still possible
Fernando Alonso still believes he can contest the Formula 1 title with Sebastian Vettel despite falling further behind the defending champion at the Belgian Grand Prix.
Alonso is now 46 points behind Red Bull's Vettel with a maximum of 200 available from the last eight races.
"We recovered some of the optimism we lost," said Ferrari driver Alonso after finishing second to Vettel at Spa.
"It was a good weekend in terms of feeling and points."
Ferrari struggled through the previous races in Britain, Germany and Hungary, but improved significantly in Belgium.
Alonso qualified only ninth, caught out by the mixed weather conditions, but fought his way up to second following an aggressive start to the race, finishing ahead of Lewis Hamilton, who was third in his Mercedes after starting on pole.
Two-time champion Alonso knows how quickly the title race can change.
He was 39 points ahead of Vettel after last year's Italian Grand Prix but fell six points behind just three races later.
"It is still open," said Alonso, who was champion in 2005 and 2006. "We just need to keep trying to improve our performance and try to turn it around."
He admitted Vettel deserved the win, adding that Red Bull "dominated" the weekend and did "everything better than us".
"In the race, once we were second we were 0.2-0.4secs slower every lap," explained Alonso.
"When you are the second fastest, you deserve to be second. We just need to congratulate Sebastian and Red Bull and get better for Monza."
Vettel's victory in Belgium was his fifth in 11 races this season, but he insisted the championship was far from over.
"It's step by step and not trying to be too smart and try to think too far ahead," he said.
The German said that even Lotus driver Kimi Raikkonen, who is now 63 points adrift after brake problems forced him to retire at Spa, was still in contention.
"It's a shame for him," said Vettel. "I had a technical failure in Silverstone. It can happen to all of us. The cars are on the limit and we try to get everything out of them and things that are a bit on the limit can also break."
Red Bull team principal Christian Horner added: "I don't think you can write anybody off. Obviously Kimi has had a bad day, but he is still in there - Lewis and Fernando as well.
"At this point, there are still a lot of points available, but you'd probably have to say the [drivers on the] podium [in Spa] would probably be the main contenders between now and the end of the year."
Belgian Grand Prix, day three
- Sunday 25 August: Highlights, 19:00 BBC Three & BBC Red Button