Alonso says it’s too early to identify rivals

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Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso of Spain celebrates on the podium after winning the Formula One Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai today. Picture: AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso played down talk of a championship assault after his flawless drive today saw him storm to victory in the Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

The two-time world champion was in imperious form as he took the chequered flag ahead of the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton, who held off the charging Red Bull of Sebastian Vettel at the death.

Asked afterwards who his main rivals were for another world crown, the Spaniard said it’s a bit too early to say.

“We need to wait until maybe after the summer break or something like that to clearly see the real contenders.

“Hopefully we are in that group after the summer.

"Hopefully Felipe (Ferrari team-mate Massa) can be in that group as well, that will mean that the car is going well and I think at the moment Lotus, Red Bull and Mercedes are in the same position as us, let's say," said Alonso.

Alonso's victory came on the back of an early retirement last month in Malaysia and a second place behind Raikkonen in the season-opener in Melbourne.

Ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix next week, Vettel leads the standings on 52 points, ahead of Raikkonen on 49.

Alonso is third with 43 points, three more than Hamilton.

"I don't see anyone has a clear advantage."

“Maybe Red Bull was very dominant in Australia in all free practices."

“In qualifying and the race they were suffering a little bit of degradation but definitely very fast," he said.

"In Malaysia, they were maybe a little bit more in the groove but here they were similar to the others so let's wait and see what the updates of every car brings to the pace and we will see how luck plays," said Alonso.

 

-Sapa

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