Fernando Alonso admits that it will be difficult to fight for a podium position in the Hungarian Grand Prix unless poor weather affects the Budapest race on Sunday.
Alonso, who took his third win of the season last weekend at Hockenheim, could only manage sixth on the grid at the Hungaroring as Ferrari struggled to match McLaren, Lotus and Red Bull in the session.
Admitting that he had expected a difficult qualifying session, Alonso insisted that he would struggle to challenge at the front in dry conditions but said rain could bring him right into contention.
“In the dry, we are not yet able to fight for the very top places, and we are well aware of that,” he said “Usually, in the race, the situation improves and so we hope we can finish in the top four or five when it's time for the chequered flag. Our aim will be to mark our closest rival in the Drivers' classification [Mark Webber] and today we know we will be starting ahead of him.
“All things considered, sixth place is not to be sneered at, far from it. It's true that overtaking is definitely not easy here, but tomorrow, it might yet rain and we know that can change everything.”
Team boss Stefano Domenicali predicted a difficult race on Sunday but said the team had to simply focus on trying to pick up as many points as possible.
"No surprises this afternoon in qualifying,” he said. “We were well aware that we still do not have the quickest car in terms of outright performance, something we have said so often these past weeks. And we know just how little it takes to miss the cut to the next session when there are so many cars up against one another, all separated by just a few tenths.
“We managed to get both Fernando and Felipe into Q3 where they secured positions that are nevertheless not too bad in terms of the championship, given that the opponent currently posing the biggest threat to Fernando will start behind us. Furthermore, I would say again today what I said for the past two Saturdays, even though the results then were different and that is, the points are given out only on Sunday after the race and not on Saturday.
“We can expect a very difficult and demanding race tomorrow, on a track that does not allow the driver to get distracted for a moment and is also very tough on the cars. There's a degree of uncertainty relating to the weather forecast, which also needs to be taken into account. As always, we will try and do the best we can."