Consistency pleases Alonso, but progress is needed (VIDEO)


Ferrari driver Fernando Alonso has said that he is pleased with the points that the team has picked up in the first two races of the 2014 Formula 1 season, but he believes that progress needs to be made if the Italian marque is to challenge Mercedes and Red Bull for race wins.

Alonso finished today’s Malaysian Grand Prix in fourth place, capitalizing on Daniel Ricciardo’s bad luck to gain a position after spending most of the race in P5. Despite lying third in the drivers’ championship with 24 points, Alonso has said that the team is still on the back foot.

“It was okay,” Alonso explained to NBCSN’s Will Buxton. “We didn’t have the pace, the chance to fight with Mercedes and Red Bull today. They were a little bit too fast for us. But we managed to get this fourth place like in Australia. It gives us a valuable 12 points which puts us 3rd in the drivers’ championship one point behind Hamilton, some points in front of some of the favorites.

“That is probably the positive news about these two grands prix, the drivers points and championship points.

“On the other side, we know that the performance is not quite there yet, so we will work hard in the next couple of points because we want to close that gap.”

The Spanish driver brought home Ferrari’s only points from Malaysia after a first-lap run-in for Kimi Raikkonen meant that the Finn spent the rest of the race languishing outside of the points.

Dakar Rally video highlights from the concluding Stage 14

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EDITOR’S NOTE: NBCSN will air additional Dakar Rally highlights on Sunday at 5:30 p.m. ET and Monday at 7 p.m. ET.

The 40th Dakar Rally is now history.

Nearly 550 competitors began the early 5,600-mile long race 15 days ago and concluded Saturday.

As we’ve done throughout the Rally, here are some key video highlights from NBCSN’s coverage of the Rally: