Fernando Alonso says any points picked up at the Italian Grand Prix would be a 'great surprise' but after the final race of the European season he is confident of a McLaren surge towards the end of 2016.
The Spanish driver produced arguably his best drive of the season last time out at Spa by taking advantage of a well-timed red flag to go from last on the grid to finish seventh.
The McLaren-Honda driver, who is confident the team will be on top of its reliability issues which forced him into a back of the grid start in Belgium, feels a repeat performance is unlikely due to his engine's power deficit to its rivals on the long Monza straights which draws a close to a run of circuits which have tested the Woking-based squad.
6 things to watch out for at the Italian Grand Prix
“Being in the points I think will be completely unexpected,” Alonso said. “I think in Spa, with all the second sector, even with Lewis normal qualifying, not just running for fun, Jenson could be tenth. So here Q3 I really believe is going to be impossible, after that I think the race we'll see, but being in the points will be a great surprise.”
After the Italian Grand Prix F1 heads east to Singapore, Malaysia and Japan before returning west to the USA, Mexico and Brazil and then the season finale in Abu Dhabi.
READ: Top 8 fastest F1 tracks on the planet
Alonso has pinpointed a few tracks where he is confident of picking up further points to strengthen its hold on sixth in the world constructors' championship.
“Not only Singapore, I think Suzuka, Austin, and especially Abu Dhabi, I think will be very good,” he said. “Even last year we expected a lot in Singapore and we were OK but we were not as good as Austin and especially Abu Dhabi.
"For whatever reason Abu Dhabi was really strong for us last year so I think it can be the same next year. Let's try to be just behind Red Bull.”