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Red Bull still strongest - Alonso

ESPN Staff
April 18, 2013 « Vettel expecting strong Ferrari challenge | 'I have a great car' - Rosberg »
Fernando Alonso: "The Red Bull cars are probably the strongest" © Sutton Images
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Fernando Alonso believes Red Bull still has the fastest car despite his victory for Ferrari at the Chinese Grand Prix last weekend.

Alonso won by over 10 seconds in Shanghai after a consummate performance which saw him outpace the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton. Red Bull and Sebastian Vettel decided not to set a qualifying time in order to pursue an alternative strategy, but after starting ninth could only manage fourth at the finish.

Asked if his victory in China was proof Ferrari has the edge over a race distance, Alonso said: "I don't think so. We still don't have the advantage on the car that people try to see after just one victory.

"In Australia we were clearly not the quickest, in Malaysia we were struggling a little bit, especially in qualifying which was the only dry running we saw and we were not so good.. In the race Felipe was fifth so it was not as if he was dominant in the race. [Alonso retired from the race with a broken front wing].

"In China, looking at the race pace, I think Sebastian was the quickest all through the race if you look at the stints, but they chose a very strange strategy and maybe they compromised a little bit the race. I think we need to keep improving and we need to be a little bit faster.

"There are some new pieces coming for this race and also some new components coming for Barcelona and Monaco so hopefully in the next month to month and half we can be at the level of the best cars."

Alonso said he was not surprised to see four different drivers from four different teams leading the championship.

"We saw last year that there were many surprises [at the start of the season], so the first races are to see the potential of everyone and learn the new rules - in this year's case the tyres are probably the biggest learning process that we are all going through. The championship positions at this stage are not really important but at the same time not a big surprise.

"Lewis [Hamilton in fourth place] is one of the best drivers in the world and last year he put McLaren in a very competitive position and this year he is putting Mercedes in a very competitive position. Once more he is proving his talent. The Red Bull cars are probably the strongest and Kimi is doing a fantastic start to the season and is driving maybe better than anyone, so he deserves to be there."