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No team has a clear advantage - Alonso

ESPN Staff
April 15, 2013 « More to come from STR - Ricciardo | Horner rubbishes conspiracy theories »
Fernando Alonso does not think Ferrari has an advantage over its rivals © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso believes it is still too early in the season to pick a favourite for the title, but is confident Ferrari's strong race pace will put him in the mix.

Alonso won the Chinese Grand Prix on Sunday by over 10 seconds to go third in the drivers' championship behind Sebastian Vettel and Kimi Raikkonen. All three have won a race this year, while Lewis Hamilton is the highest-placed Mercedes driver in fourth after two consecutive podiums.

Alonso said it is still unclear who has the fastest car among the frontrunners and believes luck will also play a part in deciding the title.

"We need to wait until maybe after the summer break or something like that to clearly see the real contenders," he said. "Hopefully we are in that group after the summer. Hopefully Felipe [Massa] can be in that group as well, that will mean that the car is going well, and I think at the moment Lotus, Red Bull and Mercedes are in the same position as us, let's say.

"I don't see anyone has a clear advantage. Maybe Red Bull was very dominant in Australia in all free practices; in qualifying and the race they were suffering a little bit of degradation but definitely very fast. In Malaysia, they were maybe a little bit more in the groove but here they were similar to the others so let's wait and see what the updates of every car brings to the pace, and we will see how luck plays.

"It happened to Nico [Rosberg] in Australia where he didn't finish with car problems, it happened to us in Malaysia. I think hearing Kimi's comments today... you never know whether the front wing will remain there and finish the race or if the front wing will go underneath your car and you don't finish the race. The same with [Mark] Webber, who had the problem with the tyre today and didn't finish. This can happen to anyone and this will also dictate who are contenders as well, so the luck factor is there."

Despite a second place finish in Australia and his win in China, Alonso has not yet started from the front row of the grid. He said Ferrari is still behind its rivals over one lap in qualifying, but is confident race pace is a different story.

"I think it's normally one of the strongest points for us, not only this year, also in the past two or three years, we are normally more or less OK on Sundays. On single lap pace we struggle a little bit, so whatever reasons, the long runs are normally good for us and tyre management but we don't also really know the reason so we need to be careful on that and maximise these type of weekends, when everything goes well, but I'm sure we will struggle on some other weekends and we need to maximise the points there.

"Sometimes we can win, sometimes the maximum is third or fifth but we need to do the job. I'm looking forward to next weekend because it's a very good test with very high temperatures and we will again see some problems and we need to deliver when the tough moments arise."