Singapore Grand Prix polewinner Fernando Alonso has said that Sunday night's race around the streets of Marina Bay could be one of survival if the afternoon downpours continue as they have all weekend.
The Spaniard surprised himself as much as the rest of the pit-lane by claiming pole ahead of Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, particularly after appearing to suffer an engine glitch in the second phase of qualifying, but insists that pre-race rain could make the event something of a lottery with damp patches stubbornly refusing to dry in the warm, humid Singapore evenings.
"We are in the best position to start, [but] it is going to be a tough race," he maintained, "Pole will help in dry, and wet as well in terms of visibility, so let's try to take the opportunity. I think, if it rains anytime during the day, there will probably be some parts of the track that remain wet for the whole race, so it is a race to survive in a way as well.
"As I said, starting on pole is the best thing we can do. We are not too worried about [whether it is] wet or dry. We should be okay in both. I think, if it's dry, there is no doubt that it's difficult to overtake here and, like all street circuits, if it's wet or if it's half dry half damp, anything can happen, because you can lose or gain a lot of seconds in two or three corners. That will change positions very quickly in the first [part], or in the middle of the race, or whenever, so I think it will depend on the conditions.
"[Other than that] there are no big worries. The start is okay, the pace is okay, the car is okay and the weather is okay - in both conditions."
Alonso's confidence belies the concern evident in his voice during phase two of qualifying when, for a brief moment, it appeared that he may be following Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa into an early exit. The Brazilian failed to complete a lap in the session, and will start from the very back of the grid, and Alonso reported a problem with his engine - the eighth of eight-unit allotment for 2010 - that eventually led to him having to pit midway through the 15-minute session.
A brief reboot later and the double world champion was back on track, and quickly back at the top of the times, and he insists that there are no concerns on the engine front for raceday.
"We tried to understand Felipe's problem but, [without] looking at the telemetry until the car is back, probably we will not know, so we made some safe changes in the car just to avoid any risk," he revealed, "We were running with some experimental things here and, after Felipe's problem, we went back to the standard ones. We had a problem the first time we changed it so, in Q2, we were running with the wrong maps in the car and we were lucky to get into Q3. In Q3, with the right maps, the car was feeling better.
Despite starting from pole, however, Alonso is not necessarily tipping himself for victory, aware that his four title rivals all line up directly behind him.
"Obviously, the main target is to be on the podium," he insisted, sticking to his pre-Monza requirement, "At the moment, Lewis [Hamilton] and Mark [Webber] are in front in the championship, so the target is to finish the race in front of them if we can. If we cannot finish in front, we'll try to finish as close as we can to not lose more points. At the moment, the job for tomorrow is to do that [but], when someone else is leading the championship, we concentrate on those. At the moment, Lewis and Mark are the two in front. If we want to be in the fight until Abu Dhabi, we need to be consistent and finish the race tomorrow with strong points."