April 20th, 2014 (F1Plus / Chris Cameron-Dow) - After a slow start to the 2014 season, Ferrari showed signs of significant progress with a podium finish in China for Fernando Alonso. The Spaniard's result elevated him to third place in the Drivers' Championship, albeit 38 poitns behind championship leader Nico Rosberg.
Alonso dedicated his third place to Stefano Domenicali, Ferrari's former team principal who resigned a few days after the Bahrain Grand Prix. Alonso said, "After a difficult start to the season, this podium is a confidence boost for the whole team, providing extra motivation for all those who are doing their best to close the gap to the front. And I think this podium should be dedicated to Stefano, as everything we do up to July will also be the result of his efforts."
The Spaniard expressed his confidence that the team has made progress, but was mindful of the need to keep improving. He said, "We have definitely made a step forward, because compared to two weeks ago, we have partly closed the gap to the leaders, but we are well aware there’s still a long way to go and we have to keep our feet on the ground.
"In general, this has been a good weekend for me, as everything went well right from Friday, although the rain made qualifying more complicated than expected. I was on the limit all race long and I really don’t think I could have done any more. This is quite a unique track of its kind and now we must make the most of the long break before the next race to prepare as well as possible for whatever situation arises.”
Kimi Raikkonen is still looking for a good weekend to get his 2014 championship campaign firmly underway. In China, the Finn had a difficult weekend that ended up with him finishing eighth. He explained the difficulties of the Chinese Grand Prix weekend:
“This has been a really difficult weekend. Right from Friday morning, I suffered with problems that we didn’t manage to solve completely and today in the race, I couldn’t get the result I wanted. The start was good, I made up two places but then I couldn’t make up any more ground, as I just didn’t have the pace, nor much grip at the front or the back. In the final stint on new tyres, the car handled better, but then, as the tyres degraded the situation got complicated again.
"I think the difficulties I encountered here stem from a combination of various factors, from my driving style combined with the low temperatures and the characteristics of the track. Today, we brought home valuable points thanks to the intense efforts of the whole team and now we will continue to work ceaselessly to improve. Fernando’s result is very encouraging and proves we are moving in the right direction.”
Ferrari will be looking to continue their progress when the European season gets underway at the next race in Barcelona.