• Australian Grand Prix

Alonso relieved to finish fifth

ESPNF1 Staff
March 18, 2012 « Webber expects Red Bull and McLaren battle | Rosberg disappointed by tyre wear »
Fernando Alonso found himself in a long battle with Pastor Maldonado in Australia © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso said fifth place at the Australian Grand Prix was a good result for Ferrari after its disastrous qualifying session on Saturday, but is still not happy with the car's performance.

Alonso fought from 12th on the grid to finish 17 seconds behind the McLarens and Red Bulls in the top four, but said the fact he was racing Pastor Maldonado's Williams in the final laps was proof the car needed to improve.

"It was a tough race for us and we knew that before the start," he told Sky Sports."We had some good battles, we had a good start so we recovered some positions, and after yesterday's qualifying, to be fifth behind the two McLarens and two Red Bulls is a pretty good result in terms of points. But the priority is to improve the car. We were too far [behind] yesterday and we were fighting with Williams at the end of the race. We'd prefer to fight at the top and this is our goal for the next race."

But Alonso warned that Ferrari would not be able to make any significant improvements to its car ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix and would have to wait until the third race in China to start to close the gap to the front.

"The cars will be nearly identical [in Malaysia] because it is next weekend," he said. "But we will try to improve something in the setup to adapt the car for that circuit and then I'm sure for China, Bahrain etc we will bring some updates. It'll be the same for the others, but hopefully ours will work a little bit better."