Fernando Alonso has conceded that, despite being allowed to keep his controversial victory in the German Grand Prix, he needs to finish in the top three at Monza to keep his title ambition on track.
The Spaniard, currently 41 points off top spot, will start from the best possible position for Ferrari's home grand prix, having claimed the Scuderia's first pole since Interlagos 2008, and is confident that the F10 will be as competitive in the race as it proved in qualifying. Team-mate Felipe Massa underlined the car's potential by taking third on the grid in front of the tifosi
, sandwiching McLaren's Jenson Button, who needs a good result as much as Alonso.
"I think we need a podium minimum
to remain in the fight," Alonso confirmed, "There is not a big pressure, a big stress, about winning the race or winning the next few races but, at the same time, we know we cannot afford another DNF or another bad result. We must try to be consistent and try to be on the podium minimum.
"If we can win the race, it would be great, but what we need is consistency, something that we didn't have so far in the championship. For that reason, we are not fighting now for first position, but tomorrow we have a great chance to get a strong result and we will see where our opponents finish.
"I think, this season, one of our strongest points has been race pace, not so much qualifying, so I don't have too many worries about the pace [on Sunday]. We just need to do a good start, a consistent pace in the first stint and also when we fit the prime tyres. We know how demanding Monza is on the mechanical side of the car - we saw some problems on the car yesterday for many teams, and we saw another problem this morning for two or three teams - so it is not an easy race to finish. Let's try to have everything under control [and see] if we can and try to finish the race with the maximum points possible. Obviously, we're in the best position possible to avoid any risk at the start, but you never know."
With drivers within the same team taking different approaches to qualifying and the race - notably Button and Lewis Hamilton at McLaren - the outcome of their strategies could prove to be the key to the result, but Alonso is optimistic that Ferrari will be more competitive that it proved at Spa.
"Yesterday, I think the maximum number of laps everybody did was around eight or nine so, after nine laps, nobody knows how the tyres will behave for anyone," he noted, "We just need to remain calm and do our race and see what happens in the end.
"Obviously, Spa was a disappointment. We were not too quick there, so part of the disappointment of the bad result were concerns about our pace, about our level of competitiveness. Now though I think we are much more focused and much more confident in our latest developments on the car.
"We have one car, one package, that should suit more or less all types of circuit. I think our main rivals have very specific characteristics in their cars and we are somewhere in the middle. I see quite a good package for the last part of the season but, as I said, we understand and we respect and we know that there will be some circuits where it will be very difficult to fight for pole positions or for wins. We need to have the best result possible every weekend and maybe, here in Monza, the result is to reach the podium or to win the race. We have to take this opportunity."