Madonna di Campiglio

F1: Alonso confident of fast Ferrari

Spaniard still sees Hamilton, not Vettel, as strongest rival

F1: Alonso confident of fast Ferrari

Madonna di Campiglio, January 17 - Fernando Alonso said Thursday he was confident Ferrari will provide him with a competitive car for the 2013 season and reiterated that he saw Britain's Lewis Hamilton, not world champion Sebastian Vettel, as the best of his rival drivers. The Spaniard had an outstanding campaign in 2012, fighting for the title until the last race of the season despite the limitations of Ferrari's F2012 race car. "I am confident that the 2013 car will be better than the last one and that it will be competitive from the first races," Alonso told reporters at Ferrari's Wrooom media event at the Alpine resort of Madonna di Campiglio. The F2012 had a speed deficit with respect to Vettel's Red Bull all season, but it was especially big at the start of last year. The Italian team also had difficulties at the start of 2011 because they had to play catch-up with the other top outfits in terms of development, so they are keen to make a flying start this year. Alonso also reiterated his famous assertion that he considered Hamilton to be his strongest rival on the grid even though Vettel has won the last three world championships. "I do not know who will be my main opponent for this season - he who has the best team and the best year in terms of preparation, luck, testing," said Alonso, who won the 2005 and 2006 world titles with Renault. "But as for who is strongest driver, my answer is Hamilton. It was true last year, it is true this year. "It is a personal opinion, not political, it's not to make people think something". He added that this did not mean he thought Vettel had not deserved to win three consecutive drivers' world championships. Alonso also said he expected Hamilton to be a challenger in 2013 despite the Britain switching from McLaren to Mercedes. "I am sure he will be able to win," said Alonso, who had a tense relationship with Hamilton when they were teammates at McLaren in 2007. "He is a super good driver because he has won every year with any car - he won in 2007 and 2008. "In 2009 McLaren started around two seconds off the pace, and Hamilton was able to win races. It was the same in 2010. "Last year Nico (Rosberg) won in China with Mercedes. So Hamilton will be able to win more than one race".

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