Chinese GP: Fernando Alonso unsure Ferrari podium is a breakthrough
|By Ben Anderson||Sunday, April 20th 2014, 12:51 GMT|
Fernando Alonso is unsure whether the Ferrari Formula 1 team's podium in the Chinese Grand Prix signals a breakthrough in its troubled 2014 season.
The Spaniard split the Mercedes of Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg for much of the race in Shanghai, and eventually held off Daniel Ricciardo's Red Bull to finish third and record the Scuderia's first podium of the campaign.
Alonso said after Friday's dry free practice sessions that he felt Ferrari was closing in on Red Bull, and the double world champion delivered on that promise in China.
But although he feels his team has improved the F14 T, Alonso said the unique characteristics of the Shanghai circuit meant he could not promise Ferrari would continue to challenge for the podium next time out at his home race.
"We need to enjoy the result today but [there is] still a long way to go and we cannot promise anything for Barcelona," he said.
"In terms of the result we need to remain very calm. [China is] a unique track with the front [tyre] graining that you need to take care [of].
"We brought new parts [to China] that feel a little more competitive, but we need to see if we can bring some extra new parts for Barcelona.
"I personally have had an extremely good weekend, probably at the level of 2012 in terms of driving and feeling comfortable with the car.
"In Bahrain, we were one minute behind the leaders, ninth and 10th, and today we are on the podium, seven seconds behind Nico. But Kimi was [still] one minute behind the leaders [here]."
Raikkonen started down in 11th and could only rise to eighth after struggling for grip in his Ferrari.
The Finn said Alonso's podium was at least a sign Ferrari is moving in the right direction, despite his own problems.
"In the race it just felt slow and I had problems with the grip overall, the front and rear end," Raikkonen said.
"At least I got some points, but it's not what we want.
"For the team it was probably our best weekend and it gives a good feeling.
"We improve, not as much as we wanted, but a podium from him [Alonso] is a good thing."