F1 » 18 April 2013
Ferrari not car to beat, says Alonso
Fernando Alonso: Hopefully in the next month and a half we can be at the level of the best cars...
Ferrari number one driver Fernando Alonso has dismissed talk the Scuderia now has the car to beat.
Alonso took his first victory of the season last weekend, when he came through to win the Chinese Grand Prix by over 10 seconds.
However despite that success, Alonso still fears Red Bull Racing and Sebastian Vettel and reckons they were actually the fastest last Sunday, but that poor strategy – Vettel didn't set a time in qualifying remember, and instead started on the harder of the two tyres available – ultimately cost the German.
“I don't think we are the car to beat at the moment, just because we have this one victory,” Alonso told reporters ahead of this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix when asked about the current status quo.
“In Australia we were clearly not the quickest and in Malaysia we struggled a bit. In China, on race pace, Sebastian was quickest in all the stints, but had chosen a strange strategy for qualifying.
“We need to keep improving and to be a little bit faster. There are some new pieces for this race and new components coming to Barcelona and Monaco. So hopefully in the next month and a half, we can be at the level of the best cars.”
Meanwhile, Alonso added that he is not surprised by how close it is in the Drivers' Championship, with the top four split by just 12 points, with Vettel on 52, followed by Kimi Raikkonen on 49, Alonso on 43 and Lewis Hamilton on 40.
“I didn't have any plan in my head as to what the championship order would be after the first three races,” Alonso stated. “Last year, we saw many surprises in the early part of the season. This is the time [of year] when we look at everyone's potential and increase our own learning of the new rules and other new elements: this year the tyres are probably the main learning process we are all tackling right now.
“At the moment, championship positions are not really important, but at the same time, it's not a big surprise to see Lewis where he is: he is one of the best drivers on the grid right now and last year he put McLaren in a competitive position and this year he is doing it with Mercedes. We know the Red Bull is probably the strongest car, however, and Kimi is having a fantastic start to the season and driving maybe better than anyone,” Alonso summed-up.
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