Fernando Alonso believes it is too early to assume Ferrari will be fighting for victory in every race despite a commanding win in the Chinese Grand Prix.
The Spaniard won the Shanghai race – his first win since last year's German Grand Prix – after beating front-row starters Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen. Alonso finished the race over 10 seconds ahead of Raikkonen in one of Ferrari's strongest performances of recent seasons.
Despite controlling the race from the front, Alonso reckons the pecking order will fluctuate from one track to another and insists it is still impossible to see a clear candidate for the title.
"I think it is a little bit too early to say – we need to wait for after summer break to see a clear contender," said Alonso. "Hopefully we are in that group after the summer. Hopefully Felipe [Massa] can be in that group as well and that will mean the car is going well.
"I think at the moment Lotus and Red Bull and Mercedes they are in the same position as us. I don't see anyone having a clear advantage. Maybe Red Bull was very dominant in Australia and in the race they were suffering a little bit [from tire degradation], but very fast; in Malaysia [Red Bull was] a bit more in the group and here similar to others, so let's wait and see on the updates every car brings and we'll see how the luck happens."
The two-time champion had retired from the Malaysian Grand Prix three weeks ago after a collision on the opening lap, but Sunday's victory has moved him back to third place in the standings, nine points behind leader Sebastian Vettel. Alonso is hopeful he will be able to keep his momentum going in the Bahrain Grand Prix next week.
"Obviously it's a long time since the last victory here, eight years, and it definitely was nearly a perfect result for us," he said. "The team did a perfect job with the set-up of the car. We had perfect pit stop times and pit stop execution, so at the end of the race the victory is a good reward for all the team and well deserved after the disappointment in Malaysia. We need to keep going in this direction with no extra risk and hopefully in Bahrain get another podium again."