SEPANG, Malaysia – Fernando Alonso is refusing to get too caught up in the moment, despite displaying all the brilliance that carried him to two world titles with a winning drive in a wet Malaysian Grand Prix on Sunday.
His Ferrari has lacked pace in the opening two rounds and under normal conditions would struggle to claim a top-six finish, but on a day when rain halted the race for 51 minutes, Alonso proved a master of the art of wet-weather management.
The Spaniard started eighth on the grid and calmly took advantage of the spills and spins of his rivals to forge his way to the front of the field by the 17th lap, a lead he would not relinquish as he climbed to the top of the Formula One drivers’ standings.
“It’s a big surprise. We were not competitive in Australia, we were not competitive here and our goal for the first races was to score as many points as possible. But today we got 25 so it’s an unbelievable result,” Alonso told reporters.
In the season-opener at Melbourne, Alonso performed similar heroics to climb from 12th on the grid to fifth at the finish but he admits he would rather be fighting for podium places from the front row than working his way through the traffic.
“I think the win changes nothing, to be honest,” he said.
“We are in a position that we don’t want to be…fighting to get into the final round of qualifying and then fighting to score some points.
“The goal in the first two races was not to lose many points on the leaders. I think we did a job on the track but there is a lot of stuff coming to improve the car before China, Bahrain and Barcelona. This is the real job we have to do.
“I know the team is putting in a lot of effort. We trust each other a lot, we are very united and this win will make us very happy but it doesn’t change our determination to improve the car and to keep winning.”
Alonso’s view was echoed by team principal Stefano Domenicali, who is keen to see Ferrari build on the success instead of resting on their laurels.
“For sure I am very happy about today’s result but we know there is a lot of work to do,” he said.
“I hope the emotion of the moment will help the people at home push as hard as possible, because we know that we are not where we want to be,” the Italian added.
“That’s the way it is. We don’t change our philosophy and our position. We were not stupid yesterday, we are not phenomena today.”