Fernando Alonso says his focus in the Korean Grand Prix is on trying to finish ahead of rival Sebastian Vettel, despite qualifying behind the German on the grid.
Alonso was fourth fastest in qualifying – marking only the fifth this time year that he has qualified on the front two rows – and will line up directly behind Vettel on the grid after he took second on the timesheets.
While Red Bull has been the team to beat so far this weekend, Alonso said he was confident about the race ahead and that he hoped to benefit from the performance of his team to take to the fight to the defending champion.
“It's no surprise to see the two Red Bulls on the front row: indeed it's not by chance they were fastest in Q1 and Q2 also,” he said. “[However] I think tomorrow we can have a good race. Maybe I might lose a few places immediately after the start, as I'm on the dirty side of the track, but we have shown we have a good pace over a long run and so we should be able to stay with the lead group.
“Our aim tomorrow? It's very simple: to finish ahead of Vettel. From now on, how many points one has overall will not count for much, it will be scoring one more than my closest rival that matters. It could happen that I lose the lead in the championship and maybe arrive at the last race 24 points down, but what matters is to be first in the classification at the end of the Brazilian Grand Prix.
“What edge does the Red Bull have? A quicker car, but we have the better team."
With Felipe Massa qualifying sixth quickest, team boss Stefano Domenicali admitted he was pleased with the results of the session and said the focus now was on a strong run in the race.
"We have proved we can fight for the very front rows, which is a positive sign, especially if we look at the gaps to pole position,” he said. “Compared to the two previous races, the distance is reduced, but clearly, our aim is to give our drivers the best car. It was a very intense hour of qualifying, not easy to manage, because the relative performance of the teams was very close.
“A car on the second row and the other on the third is a good outcome and puts us in a position to be in the running in tomorrow afternoon's race. Usually, we have seen that the F2012 is more competitive on Sunday than on Saturday: let's hope that's the case this time too! We will have to do everything to perfection: strategy, the work in the garage and reliability. Then, at the end of tomorrow afternoon, we can see where we stand."