Fernando Alonso gave the Scuderia its first podium of the F1 2011 season today at the Turkish Grand Prix and while the Spaniard was encouraged by the result, he warned it is only 'the first step'.
Alonso qualified fifth on Saturday, but ran strongly in the race and enjoyed a good battle with Mark Webber for second. Although he lost out to the Red Bull man near the end, when the Aussie made the most of the DRS to go by on lap 52, Alonso remains upbeat.
Indeed he reckons had he not been held up by Nico Rosberg early on, then he might have actually been able to put eventual race winner, Sebastian Vettel under pressure.
“I am pleased with this result, which is down to three weeks of hard work from the entire team at Maranello and at the track this weekend,” Alonso reflected. “We had not started this Grand Prix on the right foot, after having quite a few problems on Friday, but then we moved forward and today it was great to be back fighting for the top places.
“We had come so close to the podium already in Malaysia and in China and today we managed to jump onto it, but this is only a first step: we must continue in this direction.
“Given the shape we were in at the start of this season, this is a great finish. The next three or four races will be crucial though.
“At 99 percent I could not have fought with Vettel, but the remaining 1 percent went when I was stuck behind Rosberg for too long: maybe I could have put him in difficulty, forcing him to push even more.
“In the end, Webber passed me because he had the benefit of a new set of tyres, while I had none left. I know it seems strange having to stop eleven laps from the finish, but it was getting hard to keep the car on track and there was a risk of ruining everything.
“There is more overtaking, but I think that has more to do with the different behaviour of the tyres rather than the moveable rear wing. It's true that the gap in the classification is very wide, but there are still so many points up for grabs: there is certainly no need to give up.”