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Fernando Alonso is adamant that Ferrari can challenge Lotus during the early stages of the 2013 Formula 1 campaign, despite finishing a distant second to Kimi Räikkönen at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
Alonso, who will contest his 200th Formula 1 event at Sepang this weekend, says although Lotus's raw pace has been undeniably impressive so far this year, there is nothing to suggest that his team will not be able to match it in the coming races.
"Lotus's pace was very good but nothing that we could not do," Alonso said. "They had a clean race and a good strategy but the pace was not out of reach. Here we can fight a bit closer."
"We more or less have a competitive car. In Australia everything worked quite fine for us and we showed good potential. But it is true that Australia's circuit is very strange and very unusual."
Alonso believes the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix will act as a true test of Ferrari's current capabilities, with the two-time World Champion explaining that another podium finish would be a 'very good' outcome for the Maranello-based outfit.
"This weekend is a little bit of a confirmation for us," he added. "We need to confirm the car is performing well after some positive feelings in the winter and in Australia.
"This is a very real test for us. We want a clear weekend and a very good result; a podium will again be a very good target to achieve. If we do so we can be very happy."
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