Alonso: Raikkonen ‘driving better than anyone’

2013 Bahrain Grand Prix

Kimi Raikkonen, Lotus, Shanghai, 2013Fernando 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?s 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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149 comments on Alonso: Raikkonen ‘driving better than anyone’

  1. 23kennyboy23 said on 18th April 2013, 21:04

    For people saying the redbull isn’t the fastest, ask yourself what car you’d take based on the first 3 races? I always feel Redbull since 2010 has the most underlying pace it’s just peculiar tracks which prevent it from showing it, but over the course of the season it pulls through.

  2. SundarF1 (@sundarf1) said on 19th April 2013, 17:31

    Honestly, people are trying to prove which car was fastest based on three flyaway races? Show some sense, China is a front-tyre limited circuit, and has very unique characteristics. Rosberg dominated last year, how did it do on other circuits? Bahrain tests the rear tyres more, as so most other circuits, so that might be a better indicator of the pecking order.

    As for Alonso’s comments, I don’t see anything wrong, he praises Lewis and Kimi, he says his car is not the fastest yet. There’s a difference between being fastest and best – the best car is one that combines speed and reliability, and thanks to Pirelli, I’ll throw in one more factor: consistency under all conditions. So McLaren had the fastest car last year, but Red Bull had the best car. Another key difference is between car and team: last year, Alonso said his car was not quickest (which was rather obvious to everyone), but also said his team were the best (TEAM, as in, the race team that gives him the setup changes, strategies and pitstops). Red Bull seems to have the best chassis this year, and they’d like Pirelli to modify the tyres because it’s holding them back, preventing their cars from running at their maximum pace. Remember, they were a bit off-colour at the start of 2012 as well. But Newey and his aero-boffins soon recovered the downforce lost due to the EBD ban, and they went on the rampage for a few races until McLaren reeled them in. It could happen this year too, and Alonso knows he cannot afford to let Sebastian win four-in-a-row later in the year. He would want to open up a big lead in case Red Bull do make a big step in the development, and as such, will push Ferrari’s design team to produce the outright fastest car.

    About championship positions being not so important right now, I feel that’s obvious. It’s the points gap that counts, not the positions. He is 9 points behind Sebastian and 2 positions behind. That is way better than being 30 points behind Sebastian but just one position behind. Yes he could’ve done without the DNF in Malaysia, but to say that is the reason he’s saying positions are not important is absurd. When he took the lead after Malaysia last year, he said that it was nice to win and all that, but that they had a lot of work to do with the car. Taking the championship lead during the flyaways doesn’t matter, heck he had a 40 point lead in the 2012 championship midway, but when Red Bull and McLaren left Ferrari far behind in the development race, that counted for nothing.

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