Shanghai, April 14 (IANS) Fernando Alonso’s confidence has been boosted after claiming a comfortable first victory of the season for Ferrari at the Chinese Grand Prix here at the Shanghai International Circuit Sunday.
The Spaniard, starting from third, took the lead early in the race from Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton, who started from pole, and slowly eased away from the pack, coming across the finish line in one hour, 36 minutes and 26.945 seconds, 10.1 seconds ahead of a close battle for second place between three other drivers, reports Xinhua.
“It was a fantastic race for us from the start to the end without any big problems from the car. The tyre degradation was better than expected so we managed the pace. It feels great after the retirement in Malaysia because we had some pressure to finish the race,” said Alonso.
“The two races we have finished this year (Australia and China), one was in second place and other a victory so definitely the start of this 2013 campaign is looking good and I’m very optimistic.”
After Sunday’s win, Alonso became the only second Formula 1 driver who has triumphed more than once here, since he had claimed his first Chinese Grand Prix victory in 2005. The only other double winner is Briton Lewis Hamilton, who won it in 2008 and 2011.
Kimi Raikkonen of Lotus lost places at the start to the two Ferraris but the Finn came home second, just 2.1 seconds ahead of Hamilton, who also finished on the podium.
Defending World Champion Sebastian Vettel was narrowly held off to fourth place by just 0.2 second across the line. The German recorded the fastest lap with 1:36.808 but his RB9 lacked straight-line speed in the race.
Sunday’s result leaves Vettel leading the championship by just three points from Raikkonen, nine points from Alonso and twelve from Hamilton.