APRIL 12 2007 18:16h
Double world champion Fernando Alonso says Ferrari still have the upper hand.
"I think we didn't confuse ourselves after the great result on Sunday," the Spaniard told reporters in the Bahrain Grand Prix paddock on Thursday.
"We will keep our feet on the ground, knowing that with all we saw in the winter, and in Australia as well, it is quite possible that we see something similar here in Bahrain, with Ferrari ahead of everybody.
"Even if last weekend was perfect for us, we are still thinking that we need to do something more to catch them."
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen dominated the Australian season-opener last month, winning from pole position and setting the fastest lap.
The Finn finished third in Malaysia, unable to unleash his engine's full power for fear of damage, with Alonso leapfrogging him in the championship to take a two-point lead while McLaren extended their advantage to nine points.
Raikkonen's Brazilian team mate Felipe Massa, constantly quickest in pre-season testing in Bahrain in late February and early March, started on pole position at Sepang but was overtaken by both McLarens at the first corner.
While Alonso powered untroubled to victory, his 22-year-old team mate Lewis Hamilton fended off both Ferraris for an outstanding second place.
Alonso said McLaren still had concerns about their real pace, however, particularly in the light of their test performances at the desert track.
"I think we still have some doubts," he said. "On the last day of testing here we saw that we were struggling a little bit with BMW and Renault, and Ferrari for sure in front of everybody.
"I think we did some improvements in the car and this weekend we will see the result. I think we should be more competitive than in the test, hopefully not so much the others."
Raikkonen, who has switched from McLaren to Ferrari just as Alonso arrived from Renault, was confident his team's fortunes were about to improve. "I think we are going to be much happier here than we were at the last race," he told reporters.
"Hopefully we can be at our own level again here and be challenging for the win. But both races were so different that we need to see what happens on Sunday.
"It's going to be a big battle against them (McLaren) but in a way that's quite nice," he said of the season ahead. "Of course we would like to be winning every race but it's not going to happen."