Fernando Alonso has confirmed that he is chasing a podium finish in the Chinese Grand Prix, having no real qualms about his Ferrari's use of either Pirelli tyre.
The Spaniard, having shown the potential of the F138 in Saturday morning practice, claimed third spot on the grid in qualifying, pipped only by Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, who also ran the softer Pirelli rubber to set their times. Alonso also managed to halt Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa's four-race streak of qualifying success, with the Brazilian due to line up directly behind the two-time world champion on the inside of row three.
“I think the weekend has been very good for us,” Alonso confirmed, “The car felt completely different Friday [but], this morning, we made some changes and the car is responding well. I think we have a good set-up for the race as well, which is always more important than qualifying. Tomorrow, if everything goes well, we should be able to fight for the podium, hopefully with both cars, so this is good news so far for the team.”
Despite admitting that Ferrari's qualifying pace still isn't quite where it needs to be, Alonso confirmed that he was more confident in the Scuderia's race set-up, especially as the F138 appeared to work equally happily on both the medium compound prime tyre and the more controversial soft option.
“We have no big issues with any of the tyres to be honest,” the Spaniard confirmed, “Obviously the soft, they degrade much more and will last not too long, but, in the long runs, we did nothing that was surprising us, let's say. Hopefully, we can have a good race, a clean race and be on the podium at the end of 56 laps.
“I think the strategy choices that you make, in some parts of the race, are maybe looking good and, in some other parts, are maybe not looking so good - the times when you are putting on the options probably...”