Fernando Alonso admitted that he felt Red Bull and McLaren were quicker despite securing his third victory of the season in the German Grand Prix.
Having started from pole position, Alonso led throughout despite the best efforts of Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button behind to extend his championship lead to 34 points – with Mark Webber only able to finish down in eighth place.
While the victory made Alonso the first man to win three times this season, the Ferrari man insisted it had been far from easy on track and said he wasn't convinced his car had been the quickest.
“It was tough, definitely,” he said. “I don't think it was an easy race because maybe we were not the quickest on dry conditions. But we were quite competitive, enough to maintain the lead. Also it was some good calls by the team in terms of strategy in the first stop and then obviously in the second stop when Jenson pits, we have to react, Sebastian and me.
“Up to that point I knew it was a long race, 27 laps to the end with Jenson putting a lot of pressure, but I don't know, the car was feeling good, feeling good on traction and top speed, so it was enough to keep the lead into Turn Six. And then after that it is not possible to overtake in the last sector, so you try to control the tyres and, a little bit the race.”
Alonso again added that remaining consistent through the remainder of the season will be key to his hopes of securing a third championship title, with it vital that Ferrari stays out of trouble if he wants to end the season on top of the standings.
“It's halfway through the season; we made a very good recovery when you think of where we started in the Jerez test where we were maybe two seconds off the pace,” he said. “In Australia we were 1.6s in Q2 and now we are very happy with the points that we have achieved in the first half but it means nothing, because there are still another ten races in which we need to improve the car.
“We need to be consistent and we need to keep finishing all the races. One or two drivers always don't finish the race because of mechanical problems or incidents or something, so we need to avoid these problems.”