• Bahrain Grand Prix

'Now it is time to push' - Alonso

ESPNF1 Staff
March 14, 2010 « Post-race driver rundown | »

Race report | Driver quotes | How they fared |

The traditional podium scene, albeit not with the traditional champagne © Sutton Images
Fernando Alonso celebrated what he described as a "very special day" after securing victory in the Bahrain Grand Prix, dedicating his success to the Ferrari team which recorded its first one-two since 2008.

"Coming back the top of the podium is always special but even more special with Ferrari," Alonso said. "We have history behind the team and all the expectations a driver has when he drives for Ferrari. There is no better way to start the relationship. This is the best team in the world, we worked hard all winter, the guys did a very good job in winter testing."

However, he admitted it was very early days. "We have done nothing so far. We only won the first race but to be first and second is the result that the guys in Maranello deserve I think it is not important, I always say the same thing, the first three or four races of the championship are not crucial for anything, you just need some solid points for the team, to get used to the regulations, the tyres, the races themselves.

"I think the key to be world champion will be the battle during the season, we had a good base but we need to keep working. Now it is time to push."

Team-mate Felipe Massa was equally thrilled to take second on his return to action. "Being here with a competitive car and going through the whole race with good pace, so thanks to God I am fine and thanks to everybody who was supporting me in a difficult time.

"The race was really good and fantastic for us. I didn't have a good start, I lost an important position to Fernando at the first corner. After that the race was perfect for me on the soft and with the hard."

Asked why he slowed towards the end - the margin of victory was 16 seconds - he said he was conserving fuel. "I caught Fernando in a good way, then I started to have a problem in terms of temperature in the car and it made a lot of fuel consumption so I started to save fuel in the last 25-30 laps. There was nothing to do any more. We were lucky with the problems for [Sebastian] Vettel to get past him and get some points - and lucky that [Lewis] Hamilton was not so fast at the end."

Lewis Hamilton, who took third, aided by Vettel's engine problems, said he might have kept in touch with the leaders had he not got behind Nico Rosberg on the opening lap. "I had quite a good race, unfortunately I lost a bit of ground, locked up into Turn 4 and went wide, got in a bad position and Rosberg got past me," he said. "I was then much faster but it's difficult to follow here and look after the tyres. If I was ahead of him maybe I would have been able to follow the train these guys were creating.

"It is a strong result for me and the team," he said. "It was more than we expected. We need to continue to push to keep up with these guys."