Fernando Alonso declared that Ferrari was in a "positive" position in the championship after the first four races of the season despite having an uncompetitive car.

14377 - Ferrari limited the damage - Alonso

Ferrari admitted at the start of the year that it would struggle in the opening flyaway races before the start of the European season, but Alonso's performances coupled with a race win in changeable conditions in Malaysia have left him fifth in the drivers' championship. Alonso confirmed that being only ten points behind the championship leader is a lot better than expected, and said the team had managed to limit the damage in Bahrain as Sebastian Vettel became the fourth winner of 2012.

"It went a bit better than we feared and we managed to limit the damage," Alonso said. "We had arrived here eight points down on the championship leader and we leave only two more points adrift. To finish this run of four races in this situation is positive, even if there is no point in denying that we cannot be happy with it in general terms.

"Now, it's clear we have to make a step forward, because we cannot always count on the failings of others. For example, we closed the points gap to McLaren, something which I certainly would not have believed possible if it had been suggested yesterday. At the same time, we finished the race almost a minute behind the winner, which had never happened so far this year. I expected Lotus to be very competitive because they have been all weekend. So far it's been good that there hasn't been just one driver picking up the maximum points, as happened for example last year."

Alonso cited a lack of top speed as one of Ferrari's main problems during the race but hoped it could be rectified with "some major updates" to be introduced at the Mugello test at the start of May.

"As for the race, I can't say anything I didn't say already a week ago in Shanghai: the car is practically the same. At some points we were strong, in others much less so, all dependent on tyre behaviour. We lack top speed and when you are in a tight duel, that is penalising. A shame that I was missing one more straight to get past Di Resta in the end: we could have picked up a few more little points which would have been handy.

"I said it earlier, we have to improve the car as quickly as possible: in Barcelona, we will have some major updates but so will the others and how good a job we will have done we will only discover on track at Montmelo."