MARCH 19, 2013
Red Bull still fastest
Italy's super-critical press has declared itself happy with the outcome of the 2013 season opener.
"Everyone had bet on Vettel winning in Australia, but the attacker become the defender," said La Gazzetta dello Sport, the influential sports daily.
Ferrari's Fernando Alonso finished second in Melbourne, ahead of chief rival Sebastian Vettel, the triple consecutive world champion for Red Bull.
Surprisingly winning in Albert Park was Lotus' Kimi Raikkonen.
"Ferrari is ok, only Raikkonen was faster. The season has started off well," said Corriere dello Sport.
Clearly, notwithstanding Raikkonen's win, Ferrari still regards Red Bull as its biggest rival in 2013.
"I see Red Bull and Vettel in particular as our biggest rival," confirmed Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.
The Italian has christened the new F138 car 'Speranzosa', meaning 'The hopeful'.
But Alonso warned: "The Red Bull is clearly the fastest car in the field."
Niki Lauda, the triple world champion and Mercedes team figure, agrees: "Vettel doesn't need to worry too much.
"It (Melbourne) was just too cold for them, while the next race (Malaysia) is hot. Red Bull will be back at the front," he said on German television RTL.
Alonso added: "They (Red Bull) saw a little bit of (tyre) degradation (in Melbourne) but that doesn't mean they are not the fastest."