After a winter of warnings about Ferrari’s new “Latin” driver combination, even an overtaking move at the first race did not threaten the apparent harmony between Felipe Massa and Fernando Alonso.
Alonso, the Italian team’s new Spanish driver with two titles already under his belt, passed Massa from third on the grid at the first corner in Bahrain and went on to win the race.
But Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo played down the significance of the move.
“The team comes first, before the two drivers,” he is quoted as saying by Spain’s El Pais.
Alonso, 28, played down claims the pass on Massa was important, in order to “throw down a marker” to his Brazilian teammate.
“I think it is not very important,” he answered. “First of all, he’s not an enemy, maybe a rival but not an enemy.
“And of course Felipe – with the same car – there will be races that one of us will win and some races that the other will win,” added Alonso.
The Italian press does not entirely agree, with La Stampa noting that Bahrain was a demonstration that Alonso “wants to be the boss”.