Seventh place on the grid for the 2012 F1 Grand Prix of Brazil - the race which will decide the world championship between himself and Sebastian Vettel
- was no surprise for Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, who admits that his only realistic hope of winning his third world championship now depends on misfortune for his rival.
"We know to win the championship we need some retirements or something strange happening," Alonso conceded after qualifying on Saturday. "So we hope for a chaotic race, with many things happening, rain-affected or whatever. With that, we have a chance."
Alonso admitted that if the rain stays away from the Interlagos track in Sao Paulo - as forecasts now suggest is likely to be the case - then his chances of overhauling Vettel in the championship standings appear bleak.
"In the dry we are not competitive and in the wet the car is performing well sometimes and we are a little bit more comfortable," he said. "Obviously [for us to be] better than in dry conditions is not difficult so I'm sure in wet we can pick up some more performance."
Alonso confirmed that Ferrari
were not considering a repeat of their gearbox penalty gambit that controversially put Alonso on the podium last weekend in Texas, explaining that the team had made the decision based on the extreme nature of the 'dirty' side of the grid at the Circuit of the Americas and not just to gain a single position at the start.
"It was not to give me one position, it was to give the two cars several positions and we are 13 points ahead of McLaren
thanks to this in the constructors'," he explained. That situation didn't apply this weekend at Interlagos, and it will be more valuable to Alonso's title bid to have his team mate close by on the grid and not artificially dropped back five places.
"We are fifth and seventh [on the grid], so we both start one behind the other and hopefully we go together to the first positions in the first lap," he said. "We see tomorrow. Last time it rained was a different circuit - four months ago - and the cars have changed a lot."
Alonso added that regardless of the outcome of today's title decider, he was more than delighted with his effort in 2012.
"I'm very proud of this and the achievements we had this year," he said, having won plaudits for having managed to lift a car that was consistently able to only qualify around eighth position into a championship contender.
"If we'd had a normal season, maybe we had the points of someone similar with our car [in which case] you say bye-bye to the championship maybe in Monza or Singapore, and you have very relaxed races in the last part of the championship as we had last year," he said.
"But because we did something not normal [...] a lot of people think we have a chance to win the world championship because they trust so much in our jobs on Sunday," he said, pointing out that if they hadn't been unlucky in Spa and Suzuka then this weekend could have seen a very different outlook for the team: "Maybe we were mathematically world champion in Austin without the two losses," he said.
"This is the thing that fills me with pride," he said. "I will remember this season like this whatever happens."
Ferrari's team principal Stefano Domenicali said that whatever happens on Sunday, he believes Alonso "deserves more than any other driver out on track" to win the 2012 title after his efforts in 2012.