Double World Champion Fernando Alonso appeared relieved to have seen off the challenges of his ‘super-rookie’ team-mate during McLaren’s first race of the season. Alonso, who lost track position to his debutant team-mate at the first corner, eventually passed the Brit during his second pit stop, to secure his place behind Raikkonen.
Describing his race the Spaniard said, “Yeah it was very strange start, not very good. I saw Nick Heidfeld coming from the outside and was concentrating a little bit more on him than the corner itself.”
“So I realised a little bit later that I was fourth, unfortunately, and from there I didn’t think I had the possibility to push in any part of the race. Sometimes I was closer to Lewis, sometimes I left some space to learn already the car. The people that we were lapping were also a little bit inconstant, so we were up and down all through the race.”
Throughout much of the weekend, Hamilton looked on the verge of eclipsing the champion. During the race, only Sato delaying Lewis on his way to his second stop, allowed Fernando to capitalise. However, at no time was Alonso able to threaten Raikkonen’s lead.
“I was lucky to overtake him in the second pit stop. It has been a good fight, as I always have with me team-mates here in Australia.”
“I think it has been a good weekend, I think we have to be pleased with the final result as well. I think the Ferrari was a little bit too quick today for us, so we have to take the maximum points out from Australia.”
“I think second place is a good way to start the season. For sure we need to work a little bit more. We want to win races but as I said to the team, I think we proved today that we are here to win not to race only and relax I think.”
With the pace and reliability of the McLarens, Alonso remains optimistic of securing a third successive World Championship.
“We saw a lot of potential in the team today so I am looking forward to the next one.”