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F1 China 2013: It couldn’t have gone better, says Alonso
14 April 2013
Starting from third place on the grid, Fernando Alonso was keenly aware of the threats he was facing all around him, from Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen ahead on the front for for the start of the 2013 Chinese Grand Prix, to the more distant Sebastian Vettel and Jenson Button running different tyre strategies.
It was going to take Alonso executing Ferrari's own race strategy to absolute perfection to secure win against such opposition on Sunday - and so that's exactly what the Spaniard went and did.
"It couldn't have gone better than this today!" he said after the victory celebrations in China. "We had a good feeling all through the weekend and qualifying third gave us the possibility of fighting for the top places. On top of that, maybe we were owed some good luck.
"I have to thank the team for the huge efforts it has made both here and back in the factory," he added. "They have worked so hard to put me in this position from which I can fight with the others on equal terms.
"Along with that all the important factors worked perfectly, such as set-up, strategy, calling the pit stops and the stops themselves," said Alonso. "All together it produced a win that wasn't easy at the end of a race in which we made the most of our pace and did a good job of managing the tyres, which was definitely the most dangerous aspect."
Joining in the celebrations, Ferrari team principal said: "I am pleased with the result for the team as a whole today and clearly with winning a race that looked like being a difficult one from many points of view.
"After what happened in Malaysia, I am particularly happy to see Fernando on the top step of the podium," he added. "It's the best possible turnaround and it's down to a great job from the guys here at the track and in Maranello."
Alonso was quick to agree that it was a welcome return to winning ways, as he hadn't claimed a Grand Prix victory since last July at Hockenheim.
"I hadn't won since Germany and this has a special feeling because it was a tricky race full of action," he said. "Along with the second place I got in Australia, this result shows that the car is competitive and that we are working in the right direction to always be in the fight for the podium."
But Alonso is ever the realist, and cautioned his fans and his team against any complacency on the back of his win in Shanghai
"We are under no illusions and we must continue to concentrate and do all we can to improve still further," he said. "With no one dominating the Championship, it makes it extremely interesting, even if we are aware this is only the third race."
Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo said that winning in China was "a source of great pride in Italian technology," but echoed Alonso's words of cautions against over-exuberance. "Winning in China is very satisfying for Ferrari," he said. "Now we go on, but with our feet firmly on the ground."
And Ferrari team boss Stefano Domenicali pointed out that it was still too son to get an accurate sense of how the 2013 season was shaping up in terms of teams' relative performances.
"In this first part of the championship it is harder than ever to come up with an accurate evaluation of the hierarchy in the field," he said. "Between qualifying and the race we have seen contrasting performances for some teams and therefore we must concentrate very hard on improving the car over the single lap in qualifying, while maintaining the performance level we have seen over the long runs."
The team will be put to the test again in less than a week when the teams take to the track in Bahrain, but for now at least Ferrari can take comfort in knowing that they're firmly back at the heart of the 2013 world championship battle.