Date: 15th April 2013 at 10:29am
Written by:

After retiring after just one lap in Malaysia, Alonso needed a quick recovery in China.

With no-one set to dominate this seasons Formula One World Championship the pressure is mounting even during these early races of the season.

We saw it with Vettel defying team-orders to maximise his points gain over Alonso in Malaysia and Ferrari knew they had to recover quickly.

Ferrari looked good throughout the weekend and whilst they didn’t have the one lap race pace of the Mercedes, their consistent running looked likely to put them in a good position in the Grand Prix.

He went on to qualify in third position behind the Lotus of Kimi Raikkonen and the pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.

Speaking to formula1.com after qualifying he said: ?To end qualifying with both cars in the top five is a result that fills me with hope for the race. The F138 has been competitive all weekend and that means we have made a step forward, which is down to the work of the team. Some of the updates we had here worked as we had expected, but others need further work. In terms of establishing what will be the best strategy, we will be in for a long night and that will be the case for everyone, given that almost all our main competitors will start on the Softs. I?m not concerned about Red Bull?s choice and Mercedes usually has a higher degradation than ours. I?m definitely expecting an interesting race in which the biggest threat could come from Raikkonen as the Lotus has shown it manages its tyres well.?

A good start from the Ferrari’s who started in third and fourth saw both of them get ahead of Kimi Raikkonen before the first corner.

Alonso then merely had to wait till the first corner of lap five to take the lead as his Ferrari had a clear race pace advantage over the Mercedes of Hamilton.

With the DRS activated Lewis Hamilton was a sitting duck as Alonso breezed past his former McLaren team-mate, so much so was the advantage of the Ferrari’s down the straight that Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa also managed to sling his Ferrari down the inside to drop Hamilton down to third.

From this point on it was relatively easy for Alonso, he might not have led every single lap due to how the varying tyre strategies were playing out, but you always knew that Alonso was in control of the Grand Prix and the Spaniard took his first victory of 2013.

?It couldn?t have gone better than this today! I hadn?t won since Germany and this has a special feeling because it was a tricky race full of action. Along with the second place I got in Australia, this result shows that the car is competitive and that we are working in the right direction to always be in the fight for the podium. For that, I have to thank the team for the huge efforts it has made both here and back in the factory. They have worked so hard to put me in this position from which I can fight with the others on equal terms. We had a good feeling all through the weekend and qualifying third gave us the possibility of fighting for the top places. On top of that, maybe we were owed some good luck. Along with that all the important factors worked perfectly, such as set-up, strategy, calling the pit stops and the stops themselves. All together it produced a win that wasn?t easy at the end of a race in which we made the most of our pace and did a good job of managing the tyres, which was definitely the most dangerous aspect. With no one dominating the Championship, it makes it extremely interesting, even if we are aware this is only the third race. We are under no illusions and we must continue to concentrate and do all we can to improve still further.?