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Australian GP: Ferrari thrilled to be back at the top again


By Berthold Bouman

Australian GP Ferrari thrilled to be back at the top again - Photo: FerrariAlthough Kimi Raikkonen won the Australian Grand Prix at Melbourne today, Ferrari are in the lead of the 2013 FIA Formula One Constructors’ Championship, as Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were second and fourth respectively, which means the Scuderia have bagged 30 points at the Albert Park Circuit.

Ferrari President Luca di Montezemolo must be pleased with the result, last year the Maranello-based team scored only 10 points during the first race of the year, and were playing catch-up for almost the entire season. But Ferrari is back at the top and Team Principal Stefano Domenicali is also happy with today’s result.

“After winter testing, we had said we were aiming for a podium in Australia and I am pleased we have reached this first objective. This is only the first of nineteen races and we are happy to see Scuderia Ferrari at the top of the constructors’ classification: it is an encouraging start on which we must continue to build our championship,” Domenicali said in a team statement.

Alonso gets in his car, he finished second today - Photo: Ferrari

Alonso gets in his car, he finished second today – Photo: Ferrari

Alonso agrees with his team boss, and is also pleased to see Ferrari has returned to the top. “We can claim to have started this season on the right foot, immediately in the fight with the best. 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,” said the Spanish double World Champion.

Alonso was adamant the three-stop strategy was the right one, “With the 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 Sutil.”

But he still thinks Red Bull is very quick, and remarked, “Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a win, even if we know that despite today’s race result, they are still the quickest.”

He’s already looking forward to the next race in Malaysia, “We can expect another weekend 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.”

Massa can relax a bit, he was fourth today - Photo: Ferrari

Massa can relax a bit, he was fourth today – Photo: Ferrari

Massa was also happy, he even led the race today and he is also upbeat ahead of the next race, “This is definitely a very positive start to the season, especially because this is a track where I have always suffered. We have shown that our car is competitive, with a good race pace and that is down to all the hard work done during winter testing.”

The Brazilian reckoned he could have been on the podium as well, “I had an attacking start to my race, in which I was immediately fighting for the top places. Maybe if we had brought forward the second stop, as Fernando did, the podium would have been within my grasp, but I am still very happy with my result.”

And of course, the man who designed the Ferrari F138, Technical Director Pat Fry, was also pleased with the progress Ferrari has made. “This afternoon, we had a good race pace and both drivers performed well without making any mistakes.”

But there’s still work to be done and the Briton said, “We are aware that we still have a lot of work to do if we want to continue to improve. Maybe we could have risked a two stop strategy, but given the unknowns linked to tyre degradation, we preferred not to do that. In the next races, it will be vital to understand the tyre behaviour, in order to choose the best strategies.”

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