Fernando Alonso says his aim it to finish on the podium in Shanghai this weekend, with the Spaniard optimistic about Ferrari's chances in the Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso heads into the third race of the season seeking to get his championship challenge back on track after his retirement in Malaysia, which has left him 22 points behind Sebastian Vettel in the early championship standings.
Speaking in the Shanghai paddock, Alonso admitted that Ferrari had worked hard in recent weeks to improve the performance of the F138 and said he was confident that the team would perform as expected.
“I think we have to improve our qualifying, which is a weak point compared to our race pace, but overall here, our target is to fight to finish on the podium,” he said. “With a gap of five weeks since Australia we, and I guess most teams, have had the time to produce some updates and I am reasonably optimistic that what we have brought here will deliver the results we expect. That's why we are aiming for the podium and with both cars it would be even better.”
Alonso added that he wasn't too worried about the fact that he had lost points with his retirement at Sepang, arguing that his rivals for the title could expect to hit problems of their own as the season wears on.
“I am not concerned about the fact I did not score points in Malaysia, because everyone has at least two or three DNFs per season in Formula 1,” he said. “Although I hope not, I guess it will happen to me again this year, because of the law of averages. We need to be prepared for that and also be prepared to take any opportunity and try and score maximum points when it happens to our rivals.
“It was a shame that there was that contact at the second corner, but as regards stopping or not stopping, I think the damage was already done. Now, we will try and be a little bit more careful, leave a bit more of a margin and hopefully, it won't happen again.”