Consistency pleases Alonso, but progress is needed (VIDEO)

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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.

Daniel Ricciardo would relish being Lewis Hamilton’s teammate

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BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) — Daniel Ricciardo says he would relish the challenge of having Lewis Hamilton as his teammate if he joins Mercedes next year.

Ricciardo is out of contract at Red Bull at the end of the season and expressed interest in joining teams like Mercedes or Ferrari to help him challenge for the championship.

The Australian says he would “love to obviously be challenged against the best and Lewis is obviously up there.”

He adds: “I don’t want to say it’s just Lewis I’m looking for but that would be a good challenge.”

Ricciardo says he won’t accept a faster car if it means playing second fiddle to an established star.

He says “there’s always been really good clarity and fairness (at Red Bull) … and I would expect that environment everywhere.”