Ferrari cannot afford to make any mistakes in the second half of the Formula One season, championship leader Fernando Alonso warned on Thursday.
Despite being 34 points clear of Red Bull's Australian Mark Webber after three wins in the opening 10 races, the Spaniard told reporters at the Hungarian Grand Prix that there was still little between the top teams.
Although he is certain to lead into the summer break regardless of events at the Hungaroring on Sunday, Alonso said it only needed two or three races for the contest to open up again.
"I think we are in a good position in terms of points that we achieved in the first half of the season but we are only halfway," the double champion told reporters. The distance between the top five, six in the championship is not impossible to recover, you just need one good race or two good races and you are up there. We can't afford to make any mistakes or do anything we may regret. In terms of the championship...McLaren, Red Bull, Lotus, Mercedes, anyone is still in contention at the moment."
Red Bull's reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel is third overall, 10 points behind Webber, with Finland's Kimi Raikkonen fourth for Lotus and a further 12 adrift.
Alonso said the front-runners were more or less on a level. "Every detail counts, every pitstop counts, the starts as well. There is more stress on the grid between all of us," he declared. "You have to be close to perfection every weekend otherwise you lose more positions than in the past."
Alonso has finished his last 22 races in the points, two off Michael Schumacher's record with Ferrari. "We've been lucky in some moments, some manoeuvres, some incidents and we have finished all the races in the points," said the 2005 and 2006 world champion who took his first grand prix win at the Hungaroring nine years ago and can enjoy his 31st on his 31st birthday on Sunday.
"When you win your first Grand Prix. it's just a lot of emotions going on," he said. "You cannot imagine that you will repeat that feeling or that happiness more times or very often. So when you keep winning after some years, some different teams, different regulations that have changed a lot from 2003, V10, V8...Michelin, Bridgestone, Pirelli, refuelling, no refeulling. I never imagined to have the luck and the possibility to achieve two world championships and now driving for Ferrari."
Alonso said winning a third championship, whenever it might be, would be very important because then he would have equalled the achievement of boyhood idol Ayrton Senna. "I'm happy with my last four or five seasons in Formula One especially this one because at the moment we are taking care of all the details which seem to be important," he said.