Alonso expects Raikkonen ‘pressure’ in race

Sat, 23 March 2013, 02:35

Mar.23 (GMM) Fernando Alonso on Saturday sounded unfazed as his Ferrari teammate Felipe Massa continued to hold the upper hand.

Brazilian Massa almost lost his seat for 2013, but in the most recent races – the tail end of 2012 and now Australia and Malaysia this season – he has outpaced the team’s ‘number 1′ Spaniard Alonso.

“I don’t think the (grid) positions are very important these days,” Alonso said, after qualifying behind Massa and back to back pole sitter Sebastian Vettel in Malaysia.

“For sure the last two races we are behind (Massa) on the grid but so far on Saturday there are no points.”

Indeed, in Melbourne, Red Bull’s Vettel started on pole but finished just third, and in Malaysia it is believed the energy drink owned team is struggling markedly with the wear of the heavily degrading Pirelli tyres.

Championship leader Kimi Raikkonen qualified just seventh at Sepang – as he did in Melbourne – and he now moves back a further three places due to holding up Nico Rosberg during the decisive Saturday session.

Alonso said: “If you have a good race pace, as I think Kimi has or Lotus has, I think they will arrive sooner or later in the race and will put some pressure on us.”

When asked who Lotus’ biggest rivals are for victory on Sunday, team boss Eric Boullier was quoted by Auto Motor und Sport as succinctly answering: “Ferrari.”

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