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GP Week : Issue 180
W idely acknowledged as one of the greatest racing talents of his generation, Fernando Alonso used Sunday’s race to demonstrate just how deserving he is of all the praise heaped on his shoulders with a near-perfect drive at the Shanghai International Circuit. While Alonso’s run to the chequered flag was aided by a Ferrari that was lighter on its tyres than the team anticipated, the Spanish racer’s run from P3 to victory by a margin of 10.168s was down to a combination of factors largely influenced by the man behind the wheel. Fernando got an excellent start off the line, neatly slipped past Lewis Hamilton for the lead on lap 4, then managed his performance between perfectly-timed pit stops and claimed the lead on lap 21, only losing it temporarily during stops before using his fresher rubber to make short work of the men ahead. “Definitely it was a fantastic race for us from the start to the end, without big problems with the car,” Alonso said on the Chinese podium. “The tyre degradation was better than expected probably, so we managed more or less the pace. It feels great after the retirement in Malaysia – we had some pressure to finish the race. The two races we finished this year; one second place and today the victory so definitely the start of this 2013 campaign is looking good so we are very optimistic. “It was nearly a perfect Sunday for us, with not any problem in the race. The start was clean; it was good. We managed to overtake Kimi. And then in the first stint we managed to pass Lewis as well. The car felt a little bit better on the degradation side let’s say. Then in the rest of the race, obviously you need to take car off the tyres a little bit, you need to manage the gap with the guys behind. It was not so easy to understand the race sometimes. “We were overtaking the McLarens, Hulkenberg, Sebastian, so it was a little bitofamix.Soitwasnotaneasyrace and there were some moments of action, let’s say, and the risk is there when you have to do an overtaking manoeuvre and you have to manage that as well. The team did a perfect job with the set-up of the car for quali and the race, perfect pit stop times and pit stops executed.” Only a fool would discount Alonso from any championship campaign, but with a seemingly solid F138 it looks as though this could well be the year that sees him claim his first drivers’ title as a Ferrari driver. 11 GPWEEK.com // 11 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: F1 >>> CHINA