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Alonso expects to be level with Red Bull in Spain
Fernando Alonso is confident Ferrari can catch up with Red Bull at the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix.
Red Bull has been setting the pace in qualifying so far this season, with Alonso lining up third on the grid on three occasions. Ferrari has targeted improvements in its one-lap pace and Alonso is confident the upgrades set to be added to the car ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix will be enough to close the gap at the front.
"I believe we'll catch them," he is reported as saying by Autosport.com, before adding that he sees the first European round as the true start to the championship. "The championship always starts in the first race, but it's true that it's just a race to confirm the good feelings you've had during testing. It's also true that in Europe it is time to show who is going to fight for the title and who isn't.
"The first races can be atypical races with changing weather all the time, so now in Europe it's the moment of truth to show who is going to be in the title fight, and also for the teams to prove they can develop faster than their rivals. It's the start of a nice fight."
When asked if he saw championship leader Jenson Button as a title contender, he said: "I always respect all my rivals. Even so, I believe there are rivals you have to have more under control and others you can give a certain margin to. I've always said that [Lewis] Hamilton, [Sebastian] Vettel or Michael [Schumacher], Felipe [Massa] are very good drivers who can fight for the title.
"Button didn't win the title by chance last year, it was because he deserved it. And now he's leading the championship on his own merit because he has done better than us, so we have to improve. All rivals are respectable, but to me there are two or three I'll keep a closer eye on."