Alonso believes he can raise his game

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Fernando Alonso believes he can achieve an even higher level of performance than he managed in 2012.

Alonso was widely praised last year for coming close to clinching his third world championship with a car that began the season well off the pace.

Ferrari were rarely the quickest team on any given race weekend, yet Alonso took the battle for the championship down to the last race, and finished just three points behind Sebastian Vettel.

Speaking to journalists at a press conference for sponsor Santander, Alonso said: “Last year was the best year of my career and I was very happy with the performance, but I think this year will be better.”

“We have a better starting point, and I have learned from some of the mistakes from last year.”

Alonso left few points on the table in 2012. He spun into the gravel during qualifying in Australia while wrestling with the ill-handling early F2012. He had a minor off during the race in China.

Strategy arguably cost him points in Monaco and Canada, and he paid a high price for leaning on Kimi Raikkonen at the start of the Japanese Grand Prix.

Only in the final two races did Alonso appear to be giving anything away in terms of pace, as team mate Felipe Massa was quicker than him.

His words are an ominous warning for his rivals, many of which praised his efforts last year. However there’s no escaping the fact the one thing he needs to enjoy a more successful 2013 is a faster car:

“I am more motivated than last year, but of course I also need a better car than last year because we were too far from the leaders,” he added.