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F1 NEWS 

Alonso's Ferrari race engineer says Spaniard stands among best in F1 history

Fernando Alonso Ferrari 2012Fernando Alonso's race engineer Andrea Stella says the Spaniard stands among the best drivers in Formula 1 history.

The Ferrari driver is leading the championship after taking three wins this season despite not always having the fastest car.

Alonso said he felt he was at the peak of his form after some sensational drives in the first half of the 2012 season.

Speaking to Gazzetta dello Sport, Stella reckons there have been very few drivers as good as the two-time champion.

"Don't draw me into comparisons," said Stella when asked if Alonso was performing at seven-time champion Michael Schumacher's level.

"I just think that, when Fernando performs at these levels, there are just a few drivers in history who can stand the comparison.

"You can perhaps count them on the fingers of one hand, and it's not world titles dictating the standings."

He added: "I wouldn't use the concept of perfection, because you can always improve. But I struggle to remember drivers at this level in every condition, as we've seen in Germany. We ran in the rain, in the damp, in the dry and with every kind of tyre: he was always the best."

Stella reiterated Ferrari's belief that its car is still not the quickest, despite Alonso winning the German Grand Prix last weekend.

"We don't think we have the best car in dry conditions yet, but compared to the others we are making better use of what we have at our disposal. A lot of credit for it goes to the driver and to the team."

The Italian reckons the Maranello squad's car has improved around three seconds since pre-season testing, when the team struggled for pace.

"Compared to the first winter tests in Jerez, we have perhaps improved by some three seconds per lap," he said. "But we have more ideas yet.

"There is a continuous development programme, so the parts that get on the track today were decided one or two months ago. In F1 if you stand still it's all over."

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