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MARCH 17, 2013

Alonso says Red Bull leading pack is nothing new

Fernando Alonso, although very quiet over the winter period, insists in Australia that he is happy even though not at the wheel of the fastest car.

"Red Bull have the edge; there is nothing new," the Spaniard told Antena 3 television on Saturday.

Championship runner-up last year, Alonso was hoping for a better Ferrari in 2013 but in Melbourne qualified behind the Red Bulls, Mercedes' Lewis Hamilton and even his resurgent teammate Felipe Massa.

"Yes, I'm happy," he insisted.

"We are starting in good positions, something we have not done in recent races here," added Alonso at the season opener.

Former champion turned commentator Jacques Villeneuve said: "I have no doubt that Alonso will fight for the title this year.

"Ferrari will probably be better than last year, and Fernando always brings out something even more. He is definitely the best driver," he told AS newspaper.

Told that Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel is arguably the best, because he is the reigning triple world champion, French Canadian Villeneuve shrugged his shoulders as if to say 'so what?'.

"Vettel is nothing like Alonso or Hamilton. He is a product of the team, and it is the team (Red Bull) that is the best."

Asked if he thinks Alonso deserved the 2012 title, Villeneuve answered: "It's obvious isn't it?

"He has two titles but Schumacher should have ten. This is a very complicated sport and there are many factors in play."