Ferrari technical director Pat Fry has admitted that Ferrari is now behind Red Bull and McLaren in terms of pace after a disappointing showing from the team in Singapore.
Fernando Alonso took the flag in fourth place but was more than 55secs behind race winner Sebastian Vettel and nearly half a minute away from Mark Webber in the final podium position.
It was a result that ended any slim hope Alonso may have had of securing the title this season but Fry said it was a result that hadn't surprised the team, even if its performance wasn't up to standard.
"We have to be honest and accept that this result reflects the relative strengths of the teams at the moment,” he said. “Our car is third best and to finish fourth is more or less what we might have expected. We cannot say the same as regards our performance level, which did not match our expectations. Tyre degradation, especially with the Supersoft, was very high and we must try and understand why.
“In terms of strategy, I think we took the right decisions: the Safety Car certainly did not help, because both Felipe and Fernando had made their stop a few laps earlier and so they could not exploit that advantage compared to their closest competitors. In the end, we left Fernando on the Softs, because it was the best choice to cover Hamilton, the only one who could have taken the position off us. Unfortunately, by this time, the podium was already out of reach. [However] we are Ferrari and we won't let ourselves be discouraged by a poor showing."
Alonso agreed with Fry's assessment and insisted that finishing higher than fourth wouldn't have been a realistic expectation.
“Unfortunately, today it was impossible to finish on the podium,” he said. “We were not fast enough and, even if we were third for some parts of the race, we knew that sooner or later we would be overtaken. Sure, if you nail the start and something unusual happens and you do everything perfectly and then some, the podium might come your way, but at the moment, the reality is that our car is third best in terms of performance. Then, as happened today, if the Safety Car wipes out the few seconds advantage we had put together over Webber and the backmarkers, who were maybe a bit distracted, create unexpected problems, then everything becomes more difficult.
“At the start, on the Supersofts, we had very high degradation, while on the Softs the situation got back to more or less normal compared to Red Bull and McLaren. We fought all weekend long and I'm pleased with the way the team worked, because they always did their very best and we got the most we could have done out of this race. We have five difficult races ahead of us, but our motivation does not change: at some point maybe we will be able to attack, while there will be other times when we have to defend, but either way, we will always do our best."