Fernando Alonso has urged his Ferrari team to stay calm in the fight for the 2014 Formula 1 world championship, after a disappointing result in the Australian Grand Prix.
The double world champion won a close fight with Nico Hulkenberg's Force India to finish fifth on the road in Melbourne last Sunday, but was promoted to fourth in the final classification when Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull was excluded from second spot for consistently exceeding the maximum 100kg/h fuel flow limit.
Alonso was disappointed to finish 35 seconds behind Nico Rosberg's race-winning Mercedes, and he urged his team to work harder to make the F14 T more competitive for the coming races.
"It is just the first race so no one can say who will win the championship after just the first race or who will lose it," said Alonso when asked whether he felt Ferrari could catch Mercedes.
"We need to be calm, to do better next time and just to try to understand the areas to improve and the areas we seem strong.
"Mercedes looked very strong in winter testing and they were very strong here and they won the race because they deserve [it].
"At the moment they are a little bit ahead of everyone; we need to improve and reduce that gap to minimum and hopefully finish in front of them."
All the Ferrari-engined teams suffered electronic issues with their power units during the race and Alonso added that the problems suffered by Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel - who both failed to finish - were only a small consolation to him.
"Mercedes is very strong but we have 10 points more than Hamilton and 10 more than Vettel," he said.
"But we are not happy with these 35 seconds behind Rosberg and we need to do better next time."
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