• Australian Grand Prix

Alonso 'optimistic' after 'fantastic' second

ESPN Staff
March 17, 2013 « Hamilton 'really happy' after finishing fifth | Webber suffers ECU glitch »
Fernando Alonso finished nearly ten seconds clear of Sebastian Vettel in third © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso says Ferrari feels "much more optimistic" after he secured second place in the Australian Grand Prix.

Sebastian Vettel's dominant pole position saw the reigning champion start the race as heavy favourite, but it was Kimi Raikkonen who came through to take victory ahead of Alonso and Vettel. Alonso described second place as "fantastic" and with team-mate Felipe Massa finishing fourth he believes Ferrari has proven itself to be primed for a title challenge.

"Obviously it was a fantastic race for us, fighting all through the race," Alonso said. "Today we had to put on a show for everybody and I think we did it because the race was action every lap. I personally enjoyed it, it was at the end a bit sad to not be able to win the race but Kimi was fantastic today, the Lotus car as well, and we need to congratulate them for a fantastic race.

"It was not an easy race. At the beginning traffic with Sebastian and Felipe, then traffic with Sutil, some backmarkers as well. There was some tricky moments but as I said I'm extremely happy, we had a very difficult start of the season two years ago and last year as well and this year is very different. We feel much more optimistic, the car is responding well, we are competitive, so we have a very interesting season ahead of us."

Alonso added that he felt doing a two-stop strategy might have been possible but that it wasn't a call Ferrari could have made during the race.

"I think it's difficult to know if we could do two stops today. You have to commit more or less to one strategy before the start of the race because you race differently. Obviously we were attacking; we tried to pass Sebastian in the first part of the race - Felipe and me - we could not do it in the first stint. In the second stint we also were behind Sutil at that stage of the race so all these ingredients maybe you can go a bit longer in the stints but we had to stop, try to overtake these people that we felt were slower than us in the race and if you commit to that there's no other way to find the two stops."