Fernando Alonso has admitted he was very fortunate to finish on the podium in the British Grand Prix.

The Spaniard struggled in qualifying on Saturday and was only tenth fastest in the top-ten shootout.

Starting from ninth - gaining a place on the grid after Paul di Resta's penalty - Alonso reckoned the best he could hope for was a top-five, but he eventually came through the pack to take third, passing several drivers late on, including Adrian Sutil and Kimi Raikkonen.

"If I'd been told this morning that I would have ended up on the podium, I would not have believed it possible," Alonso conceded after the eighth round in the 2013 F1 World Championship.

"Yesterday in qualifying, we finished a long way down and our expectations for this race were to aim for a fifth or sixth place, hoping to score as many points as possible.

"[In the end] after some negative experiences, today we can say we were lucky on a few occasions, beginning with [Sergio] Perez [when he had a tyre blow out right in front of me] and then at the first stop with a completely worn out tyre - fortunately at the last corner - and then with [Sebastian] Vettel's retirement."

Vettel's gearbox problem - his first DNF of 2013 - means Alonso now closes on the German in the battle for the Drivers' Championship, reducing the deficit to the leader and three-time F1 world champion from 36 points to 21, something the Spaniard definitely didn't expect 24 hours ago.

"At the end of a difficult weekend, it was unimaginable that we could make up so much ground," he confirmed. "But now we must try and improve, starting with the very next race in Germany. Only there will we understand if we have indeed slipped backwards or if this weekend was a one-off.

"Up until the Canadian Grand Prix we saw a Ferrari capable of fighting for the podium, but one that struggled a bit in qualifying, before then having a great race pace, so now the aim is to get back to that situation," Alonso summed-up.

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