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F1 NEWS 

Alonso: Brawn will dominate race

Former world champion Fernando Alonso thinks Brawn GP will be even more dominant in the race than they were in qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.

With Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello having locked out the front row of the grid in Melbourne, Alonso is expecting the duo to have a fairly easy run to victory in the first race of the season.

"I think the race pace [of Brawn] will be even stronger than qualifying," said Alonso, who will start from 10th on the grid.

"In qualifying when we put on new tyres our cars are good to drive. When it is a scrubbed set and the tyres are old, the mechanical grip of the car is much more important. So the Brawn in the race will be much quicker than in qualifying, that is for sure. But I think they don't go flat out.

"It was the same in Q1 and Q2. They used scrubbed tyres, so they go 100 per cent when they want. In the race after a couple of laps they will slow down, otherwise they will lap everybody."

Despite his feelings about the current pace of the Brawn, Alonso does not share the thoughts of some of his rivals who believe the team will have an easy ride to the world title.

"Everybody was surprised when they tested the first time the car," he said. "Now we arrive to the first grand prix, those testing times were real and they are better than everybody.

"It is true and hard to believe that one month ago they were sitting at home, and now they are ready to fight for the world championship. Now we have to wait.

"The championship is long. Also last year, there were teams that started very strong and after three or four races they were at the back of the grid. The times are very close now, in four or five tenths you can be P3 or P15, so we need to wait and see.

"But for sure Brawn at the moment, the first four or five grands prix, they will be racing more or less alone."

Although Alonso was expecting more than a midfield starting position for the first race of the season, as happened last season, he still believes that the R29 has enough potential to lift him into contention for the world title fight.

"Last year the car was undrivable and there were no hopes on that car," he said. "With this year, more or less, we are in the same position unfortunately, with a very difficult start and our performance is not what we were expecting.

"But I still am confident that we can turn around again as we did last year, although hopefully not as late."

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