First Abu Dhabi, now Australia. In the grand finale to last year's campaign, Fernando Alonso got stuck behind Vitaly Petrov and lost valuable time.
In this year's curtain-raiser in Melbourne, Alonso now finds himself deprived of a podium spot by the Russian. The Spaniard was breathing down Petrov's neck in the run-up to the finish, but the Renault man had the fresher tyres and Alonso had to settle for fourth.
"That's no reason for me to have nightmares about Petrov," said Alonso in his post-race interview. "He drove a clean race and came a worthy third. He had a good start and got ahead of me. He was steady and strong in the last stint too and deserves his podium."
Alonso revealed that his focus in the race was not on Petrov but on Webber: "Webber is a title contender, Petrov isn't."
Towards the end of the race, Petrov came under renewed pressure from Alonso, but as in Abu Dhabi, he succeeded in holding him off.
"He didn't make a single mistake, which shows that our car has tremendous potential," said Renault engineer Riccardo Penteado. "He drove the whole race as if every lap was a qualifying lap, which left him short on fuel towards the end, but he and the team judged the consumption superbly, so that everything turned out as we had hoped. In fact, even better with the podium finish."