Fernando Alonso has called on Ferrari to improve its qualifying performance after another strong race at the Nurburgring saw the Spaniard take his fourth podium finish in the last five races.

Alonso qualified on the second row of the grid for the German Grand Prix but made up a place at the start after getting ahead of Sebastian Vettel, although he then lost the place on lap two after running wide.

Once back ahead of Vettel for good, Alonso was embroiled in a three-way fight for victory with Lewis Hamilton and Mark Webber and although he had to settle for second place, Alonso was still pleased with the result.

However, the double champion urged Ferrari to push hard to improve its qualifying performances to give him the best chance of success in the upcoming races.

"After a second place like this, it's easy to say that it could have been better, but I am pleased nevertheless," he said. "We must improve in qualifying, because we have a very strong race pace and I don't think there's any doubt about that. Everything went well today: the start, the pit stops and the strategy. We still lack something on Saturdays, because yesterday we were three or four tenths away, but I am confident we can also improve on this front.

"Today, Hamilton was quicker and so well done to him and his team: when I was behind him I was pushing as hard as I could, but I could not get very close. Even though I came out ahead of him at the second pit stop, I had absolutely no grip and he managed to pass me round the outside: immediately he then built up a few seconds lead. Today, we were clearly superior to the Red Bulls in terms of performance and this is important, given where we were at the start of the championship. That does not mean it will be the same in the coming races, but the situation is getting back to normal. The classification? I'm not looking, but if there's a chance, it depends on always finishing on the podium hoping that Vettel does not do the same."

Alonso's only slight scare came after the finish when he was forced to park his car on the side of the circuit before catching a lift back with Mark Webber in scenes reminiscent of the iconic moment when Nigel Mansell gave Ayrton Senna a lift back to the paddock at Silverstone.

"The team asked me to cut the engine as a precaution and luckily Mark was alongside me and stopped to give me a lift," Alonso said. "I don't know how he knew I was shutting off the engine; maybe he has a radio link to my engineer!"

Despite being asked to park the car due to a low amount of fuel, Ferrari was able to supply the mandatory litre of fuel to the FIA after the race.