Alonso: Ferrari not the benchmark
19 April 2013 – Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso does not believe that his team heads into the Bahrain Grand Prix weekend at the top of the current Formula 1 pecking order, despite claiming a comfortable victory at the Shanghai International Circuit last time out.
The Spaniard, who finished over ten seconds clear of nearest rival Kimi Räikkönen at the Chinese venue, believes further upgrades need to be applied to the F138 chassis before the Maranello-based outfit can lead the way in terms of raw performance.
"I don't think we are the benchmark," Alonso explained. "We still do not have the advantage or the car that people try to see now after one victory. In Australia we were clearly not the quickest, in Malaysia we were struggling a little bit, especially in qualifying where we were not so good, and in the race there Felipe was fifth, so it is not that Vettel was dominant in the race.
"Then in China, Red Bull chose a strange strategy on Saturday when Vettel qualified on the harder tyre and started ninth. That compromised his race a little bit. I think we need to keep improving and we need to be a little bit faster."
With updates expected to arrive for the opening European leg of the season in Spain and Monaco, Alonso is confident that Ferrari will soon be in a stronger position.
"There are some new pieces coming for this race and we have some new components coming for Barcelona and Monaco, so I hope over the next month or month and a half that we can be at the level of the other cars," he summed up.
After the opening three races of the season, Alonso occupies third in the Drivers’ standings with 43 points to his name, nine behind current leader Sebastian Vettel.