Fernando Alonso says Kimi Raikkonen has had a strong start to the season with Lotus.
Alonso, who trails Raikkonen by six points after three races, said: “Kimi is having a fantastic start to the season and driving maybe better than anyone.”
Sebastian Vettel leads the drivers’ championship at the moment but Alonso believes “championship positions are not really important” at this stage.
“But at the same time, it?óÔéĽÔäós not a big surprise to see Lewis where he is,” said Alonso. “He is one of the best drivers on the grid right now and last year he put McLaren in a competitive position and this year he is doing it with Mercedes.”
“We know the Red Bull is probably the strongest car,” he added.
Alonso believes Red Bull did not fully exploit their potential last week: “In China, on race pace, Sebastian was quickest in all the stints, but had chosen a strange strategy for qualifying.”
Ferrari’s Shanghai victory does not automatically make them the team to beat according to Alonso: “In Australia we were clearly not the quickest and in Malaysia we struggled a bit.”
“We need to keep improving and to be a little bit faster. There are some new pieces for this race and new components coming to Barcelona and Monaco. So hopefully in the next month and a half, we can be at the level of the best cars.”
However he was relieved at scoring his first win in nine months: “I was very happy, as not winning for a while is a very difficult matter to deal with.”
“It was eleven or twelve races that we had not won, even if we were consistently on the podium, but there are many other drivers with super cars who have not won a race in the last 50 or 60 races. However, we need to be consistently on the podium if we want to fight for the championship.”
2013 Bahrain Grand Prix
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Image ?é?® Lotus/LAT