• Chinese GP - Qualifying

Alonso confident of best showing yet in China

ESPN Staff
April 19, 2014 « Rosberg struggles with brakes in Shanghai qualifying | Rain cost me top five - Grosjean »
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Fernando Alonso is confident Ferrari can have its most competitive race of the season in China after he qualified fifth on the grid on Saturday.

Alonso finished fourth at the first two races but struggled in Bahrain two weeks ago and had to settle for ninth. However, he believes Ferrari has made a step forward this weekend in China and can be closer to the pace-setting Mercedes in Sunday's race.

"I'm happy to be fifth and to put the car in a position that will give us a good opportunity tomorrow in terms of getting some good points," he said. "Yesterday the car was a little bit more competitive than what we had in the first three races, so the steps that we had here worked fine so that is positive news.

"Definitely we are hoping for a better race tomorrow. We were too far behind the leaders and the podium at the first three races and tomorrow we can hopefully get something closer. It doesn't mean we will fight for the podium because I still think we are not quite up there, but definitely we are closer. It's the first step of many that we want to make."

However, Alonso is not getting his hopes up for a podium.

"We need to be realistic and not dream too much. We were ninth and tenth 13 days ago and we cannot go into the race thinking the podium is the only target to be happy with. We need to go step by step and we are positioned fifth [on the grid]. We need to avoid, if possible, some of the battles in the first few laps that meant we lost the train of the leaders a little bit too much.

"Hopefully we can have a good and clean first lap and then try to follow them. Mercedes has been very strong in dry conditions so if we can have a good pace compared to Red Bull and even fight with them it would be good news. But first of all we need to think that 13 days ago we were ninth and tenth, one minute behind the leaders, and tomorrow we need to avoid that distance and have a better position."

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