Fernando Alonso believes that Ferrari has begun the season on the right foot following his podium in the Australian Grand Prix.
Alonso finished second in Melbourne, while team-mate Felipe Massa was competitive throughout the weekend and came home in fourth place.
"We can claim to have started this season on the right foot, immediately in the fight with the best," said Alonso.
"Along with the results from winter testing, it is a very encouraging sign that we managed to get the most out of a weekend that was full of unknown factors, both in qualifying and the race. I think the three stop strategy was the right one: with the degradation we had, it would have been impossible to manage on one less and bringing forward the second one by a few laps meant I was able to pass Vettel and Sutil."
Alonso also thinks that in spite of the result, Red Bull remains quickest.
"Finishing ahead of the Red Bull tastes like a win, even if we know that despite today’s race result, they are still the quickest. Now we can expect another weekend with very changeable weather and one that also puts a lot of stress on the cars from a mechanical point of view and on the drivers, from a physical one. But we can tackle it calmly on the back of this good result."
Massa expressed his delight with fourth even if he felt a podium slipped through his grasp.
"This is definitely a very positive start to the season, especially because this is a track where I have always suffered," he said.
"We have shown that our car is competitive, with a good race pace and that is down to all the hard work done during winter testing. I had an attacking start to my race, in which I was immediately fighting for the top places. Maybe if we had brought forward the second stop, as Fernando did, the podium would have been within my grasp, but I am still very happy with my result. Definitely, we are at a good level, but now we must carefully analyse every smallest detail to try and improve our car."