Fernando Alonso insists Ferrari is not benchmark team yet

Fernando Alonso insists Ferrari does not have the fastest car in the field despite his commanding victory in the Chinese Grand Prix

Fernando Alonso insists Ferrari is not benchmark team yet

The Spaniard took his first win of the 2013 Formula 1 season - and the first since last year's German Grand Prix - with an emphatic drive from third on the grid last weekend.

Alonso finished the race over 11 seconds ahead of his closest rival to move into third place in the standings, nine points behind Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel.

Despite his win, the Ferrari driver feels Red Bull remains the team to beat, and reckons Vettel's pace in China was disguised by his decision to not fight for pole and start with the harder tyres.

But asked if he felt Ferrari was now the benchmark, Alonso replied: "I don't think so. We still do not have the advantage or the car that people try to see now after one victory.

"In Australia we were clearly not the quickest, in Malaysia we were struggling a little bit, especially in qualifying where we were not so good, and in the race Felipe [Massa] was fifth, so it is not that [Vettel] was dominant in the race.

"Then in China, [Red Bull] chose a strange strategy on Saturday and it compromised the race a little bit.

"So I think we need to keep improving and we need to be a little bit faster. There are some new pieces coming for this race, we have some new components coming for Barcelona and Monaco, so I hope over the next month or month and a half we can be at the level of the other cars."

The two-time champion, who finished runner-up to Vettel in last year's title race, acknowledged that consistency, rather than just winning races from time to time, will be key once more.

"We know we need to be consistent," he said. "Not only in winning races, consistent in the podium fight and not having Sebastian on the podium is good news at this moment, because he is leading the championship."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso
Teams Ferrari
Author Jonathan Noble
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