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3 Valtteri Bottas

Alonso downplays 'benchmark' tag

Thursday 18th April 2013

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Alonso downplays 'benchmark' tag

Alonso downplays 'benchmark' tag

Fernando Alonso has downplayed claims that Ferrari are the benchmark despite a convincing win in China.

The Ferrari driver became only the second driver to win the Chinese Grand Prix more than once when he took the chequered flag ahead of Kimi Raikkonen and Lewis Hamilton last Sunday.

It was an impressive display from Alonso, who managed to pull away from his rivals while managing his Pirelli tyres to finish with an 11-second advantage.

Alonso's triumph - his second top-three result of this season - moved him up to third in the Drivers' Championship where he trails Sebastian Vettel by nine points.

But despite Ferrari's rise, the 31-year-old says they are not yet the team to beat.

"I don't think so," he told Autosport when asked if Ferrari was 'now the benchmark'. "We still do not have the advantage or the car that people try to see now after one victory.

"In Australia we were clearly not the quickest, in Malaysia we were struggling a little bit, especially in qualifying where we were not so good, and in the race Felipe Massa was fifth, so it is not that Vettel was dominant in the race.

"Then in China, Red Bull chose a strange strategy on Saturday and it compromised the race a little bit. So I think we need to keep improving and we need to be a little bit faster.

"There are some new pieces coming for this race, we have some new components coming for Barcelona and Monaco, so I hope over the next month or month and a half we can be at the level of the other cars."

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