Fernando Alonso says beating Red Bull in Melbourne 'tastes like a win' but has warned that the reigning Champs are 'still' the quickest.
Starting the season-opening grand prix fifth on the grid, Alonso raced to second behind Kimi Raikkonen as the Lotus proved to have the better pace in the closing laps.
However, as third went to reigning World Champion Sebastian Vettel, who beat Alonso to last year's title by three points, the Spaniard insists his P1 tasted like a victory
"Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a win, even if we know that despite the race result, they are still the quickest," Alonso said.
"Now we can expect another weekend (in Malaysia) with very changeable weather and one that also puts a lot of stress on the cars from a mechanical point of view and on the drivers, from a physical one.
"But we can tackle it calmly on the back of this good result."
Alonso's runner-up result at the Albert Park circuit was a marked improvement on last year's race when Alonso was never once in contention and finished down in fifth place.
This year, though, the Spaniard reckons Ferrari have taken a step forward in all aspects.
"We can claim to have started this season on the right foot, immediately in the fight with the best," he said.
"Along with the results from winter testing, it is a very encouraging sign that we managed to get the most out of a weekend that was full of unknown factors, both in qualifying and the race.
"I think the three-stop strategy was the right one: with the tyre degradation we had, it would have been impossible to manage on one less, and bringing forward the second one by a few laps meant I was able to pass Vettel and Adrian Sutil."