(BBC) Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso says his fourth-place finish in the Australian Grand Prix was “not the start we wanted” but is not a cause for concern.
He told the Ferrari website his start cost him as he went from fifth to ninth but he is confident of improving for the next races in Malaysia and China.
“If I’d not found myself ninth I’d have been able to fight to the end for the lower steps of the podium,” he said.
“It’s important to prepare well for the next two, which are back-to-back.”
After an impressive pre-season display, the two-time world champion qualified in fifth spot, 1.4 seconds behind pole sitter and eventual race winner, world champion Sebastian Vettel.
Before the race Alonso said he was happy with starting from fifth, but not so pleased with the time gap between him and Vettel.
But afterwards, he stated that the car’s improved performance had given him grounds for optimism in the next two races, and his 12-point haul – for finishing behind Red Bull driver Vettel, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Renault’s Vitaly Petrov – was a satisfactory start to the campaign.
“In qualifying we were very far from Vettel’s Red Bull and far from Hamilton’s McLaren but in the race the situation improved – perhaps not compared to Sebastian but certainly against the others,” said Alonso.
“Twelve points is not far below the world champion’s average last year and two title contenders finished behind me. So, overall, the Australian Grand Prix can’t be defined as disastrous.”
Alonso will stay in Australia this week before flying over to Malaysia for the Sepang race, which takes place on 10 April. It is one he picked out as a particularly arduous test.
“They [Malaysia and China] are both very demanding from a physical point of view, especially Sepang where we drive in very high temperatures.”