Fernando Alonso: Ferrari can mount title challenge


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The Independent Online

Fernando Alonso expects his Ferrari team to push Kimi Raikkonen and Lotus all the way in Malaysia on Sunday.

The Spaniard finished in second place behind Raikkonen in Australia but admitted he has been encouraged enough by their performance to mount a serious challenge to win his third world title after success in 2005 and 2006.

"We have a more or less competitive car. In Australia everything worked quite fine for us and we showed a good potential," he said.

"But it is true that Australia's circuit is a very strange and very unusual circuit. This weekend is for us a little bit of a confirmation. We need to confirm the car is performing well after some positive feelings in winter and some positive feelings in Australia."

Alonso added: "This is a very real test for us. We want a clear weekend and a very good result and again a podium will be a very good target to achieve."

Reigning world champion Sebastian Vettel was third in Australia after encountering tyre problems. He expects those to have been resolved for Sunday's race at Sepang.

"We still managed to get a very good result but we didn't have enough pace, for which there is a direct link to tyre degradation to beat the two cars in front of us," he said.