Fernando Alonso says he is optimistic about his chances on home soil this weekend in Spain, and reiterated that Ferrari is pushing hard to try and get onto terms with current championship leaders Red Bull.

While Sebastian Vettel has taken pole for all four races so far and won on three occasions, Alonso has yet to qualify on the front two rows of the grid and only finished on the podium for the first time this year in Turkey.

It means the Spaniard goes into the Catalunya 52 points behind the defending champion but he insisted Ferrari was pushing hard to challenge Vettel and Red Bull for honours.

"You never know what is going to happen," he said. "Red Bull is very dominant in this first part of the championship. It is difficult to beat them in the race. It is nearly impossible to beat them in qualifying, but this is something that we want to change and we want to change starting here in Barcelona.

"We brought some new parts in Turkey that seemed to work fine for us and we did a step forward and closed the gap a little bit with them. Second part of these new parts are coming here to Barcelona, so hopefully we can make another step forward and close even more the gap but knowing that, as some of the guys said, I think all the teams will bring some new parts. It is just time tomorrow to see, or wait for Saturday afternoon after qualifying, which of the teams did the better job and brought some extra parts here and we see how competitive the Ferrari can be after Barcelona.

"We are optimistic. We are confident. We have been working a lot and the intention is to close even more the gap and to be fighting with them very soon."

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