Fearri's Fernando Alonso was happy following qualifying for the Chinese Grand Prix today - and after putting his Ferrari F10 in third place on the grid said he should now be able to aim for a place on the rostrum.
Alonso, who was fifth fastest in final practice this morning, ran strongly throughout qualifying and while he was unable to match Sebastian Vettel, he was pretty close to Mark Webber in second, just over a tenth slower.
Indeed he attributed his third place on the grid to the aerodynamic developments the Scuderia has brought to this event, the fourth round on the F1 2010 schedule.
"At the moment, I'd say this result is an accurate reflection of our qualifying potential," Alonso said. "The Red Bulls seem unbeatable, but it's definitely not a surprise, because they are always strong on Saturday. I am happy with the way things went: third is a good place to start such a long race. We can do well and aim for a podium finish.
"Today, I was more comfortable on the hard tyres, as the soft ones were trickier to use. I am pleased with the benefits of the new aerodynamic package in terms of performance and it is thanks to these parts that I was able to take part in the press conference for the top three drivers. The team is working well, with a clear philosophy that it's in the race that the points are given out, not in qualifying."
Rain is forecast for tomorrow's race and Alonso believes this could definitely turn things into a lottery. He does however, have confidence that his Ferrari will be fine in the wet.
"If it rains, a lot will depend on when the tyres will need to be changed: getting it right, along with making the best tyre choice, can bring you the win, but if you get it wrong, you could lose everything," he explained.
"It's hard to say where we are in terms of being competitive in the wet, because during winter testing, we were never all out on track under the same conditions and on the same fuel loads. However, in Australia, it went pretty well."
Ferrari's chief track engineer, Chris Dyer meanwhile concurs that the weather could have a big influence on the outcome of the grand prix.
"A really great performance today from Fernando, who was able to get the most out of the car, putting himself in a strong position for tomorrow's grand prix," Dyer added. "There is a high possibility of rain playing its part tomorrow though and even if we don't encounter the same extreme conditions as last year, it could definitely create some surprises. We must be ready now to tackle every eventuality."