• Malaysian Grand Prix - FP2

Ferrari pace 'not an illusion' - Alonso

ESPN Staff
March 22, 2013 « Mystery problem slowing Grosjean | Maldonado feels Williams in the dark over solutions »
Fernando Alonso said Ferrari's pace "is very good news" © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso said Ferrari has proved to itself that the pace of the F138 is "not just an illusion" following Friday practice for the Malaysian Grand Prix.

While Alonso finished a strong second in Australia last weekend, he said that the Melbourne circuit was slightly unusual and that Ferrari would be looking to confirm its pace at Sepang. Having ended Friday practice with the fourth quickest time in both sessions, Alonso said he was pleased that the team had cemented its place at the sharp end of the grid.

"Today, the car worked well in all conditions and that is very good news for us," Alonso said. "This circuit is more representative than Australia for evaluating the car's performance and so it was important to understand here today if the positive feelings from the winter were not just an illusion.

"On my lap on the Medium tyres, I did not have the right balance, otherwise I could have managed to improve, as I did on the Hards and I could probably have been on the "front row.""

With high tyre degradation experienced on Friday, Alonso admitted that it could be beneficial for Ferrari to sacrifice qualifying pace to focus on the race.

"Now we must see how tomorrow goes, when it could rain at any moment and on a track where tyre degradation is much higher than in Melbourne. With a high number of pit stops likely, a car that works better in the race than in qualifying could be an advantage. However, tomorrow we will try and do our best to get a place on the front row, because, as usual, the start, strategy and pit stops will hold the key."