Fernando Alonso says his focus for the Australian Grand Prix is to pick up as many points as possible having qualified on the second row of the grid.

Alonso posted the third quickest time behind Red Bull duo Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber, and goes into the Albert Park race looking to extend the championship lead he secured with victory in the season opener in Bahrain.

Admitting it would have been difficult to beat the Red Bulls to top spot on the grid, Alonso said he was confident that Ferrari will have strong pace come race day but added that he wouldn't take stupid risks if it could mean losing valuable points.

"I am pleased with the way qualifying went," he said. "You always want to be on pole, but third place is still a good result. We knew the Red Bulls were very strong, but we are close to them and can count on having a good race pace.

"Our aim is to get to the finish, not making any mistakes and getting a good result, maybe making it to the podium. Of course I want to fight for the win but it is not worth taking risks as it is too important to bring home points. After yesterday's free practice, we were not worried because we knew our work had only focussed on being ready for Sunday's race. Anything can happen here and we must be ready for any eventuality."

Team-mate Felipe Massa however endured a more difficult session as he struggled to match Alonso's pace, and while he will line up fifth on the grid, the Brazilian wasn't too happy with his performance.

"Not the qualifying I was expecting, going into this Grand Prix," he said. "Ever since the temperature dropped, I have always struggled to find the best way of getting the tyres up to temperature, while yesterday morning for example, when it was hotter, the situation was much better. With today's temperatures, I had no grip, which is not particularly encouraging. Let's hope it's a bit warmer tomorrow.

"In FP3 I really found it difficult, but come the end of qualifying I still managed to get a reasonable result. It's definitely not ideal in terms of looking for a win, but all the same, I will try and bring home a good number of points. This race is very tough, partly because, as we have often seen in the past, anything can happen here."


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