Fernando Alonso put his Ferrari on the second row of the grid following qualifying today for the Canadian Grand Prix at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve and he now reckons it is 'realistic' to be aiming for a podium.

Alonso finished the shoot-out right up with the Red Bull's of Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel, although unlike them he opted to run on the softer of the two Bridgestone tyres - along with pole man, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who will start directly behind him in fifth.

"So far this weekend, we have always been in the fight for the top places," Alonso said. "We have a good grid position and now we must prepare ourselves as well as possible for a race, which for the first time this season will feature a confrontation between different strategy options, with two of the top five cars choosing to start on the hard tyres.

"It will be a very long and tough race and it will be vital to maintain concentration throughout, because on this track a moment's distraction can carry a heavy penalty.

"Usually, our car is rather kind on the tyres which could be a decisive factor tomorrow, as will be the management of the brakes. Realistically, a podium finish is a possible goal, while it would take something special to get the win.

"In Q3, if I had been able to use another set of tyres, then maybe I could have cut my time down by a few hundredths, but the same applies to other drivers, therefore it's hard to say how it would have gone if everyone had driven a perfect qualifying. All in all, we can be pleased with today's performance."

Team-mate Felipe Massa meanwhile will line-up seventh in the other Ferrari F10, and while he wasn't happy to be two-three tenths off Alonso, he is determined to try and do well tomorrow in the race.

"It was a very tough and closely contested qualifying. In Q3, I was getting quicker with every lap to such an extent that my best time came on lap four. I definitely cannot be happy with seventh place, but at least our car is more competitive than it was in Turkey," Massa continued.

"It was a shame I didn't manage to produce a perfect lap, otherwise I could have been higher up the order: at the end, as the track continued to improve, a few drivers went just a tiny bit quicker than me. Tomorrow, we must try and get a good start and on the back of that, build a good race."

Ferrari boss, Stefano Domenicali added: "We are reasonably pleased with this result, which maybe could even have been slightly better, both yesterday and today we have proved capable of fighting for the top places, but we are well aware that it is the race that counts as this is when the points are given out.

"Traditionally, the Canadian GP is action packed and so tomorrow we must be ready to make the most of every opportunity. Compared to the earlier races in the season, there is also the variable of the different tyre choice strategies of the cars classified on the top three rows: we will see who has made the right decision," he concluded.