• Spanish Grand Prix - Qualifying

Ferrari making progress - Alonso

ESPNF1 Staff
May 12, 2012 « Hamilton expected 'great battle' | 'The car looks fantastic' - Maldonado »
Fernando Alonso is remaining cautious on his race chances © Sutton Images

Fernando Alonso is confident that his Ferrari team is making a step in the right direction after he qualified a pleasing third for his home grand prix.

Alonso looked like he might snatch pole position but first Pastor Maldonado then Lewis Hamilton bettered his time in the dying seconds. But thanks to a few upgrades brought forward at the recent Mugello test, Alonso is happy with the progress being made.

"This third place is not what we had expected," said Alonso. "We were counting on making a step forward that would allow us to get into Q3 with less difficulty than in the first races of the season and we managed it. But we certainly did not think we could be so high up the grid. I don't know if this position is a true reflection of our car's performance - it's definitely not normal for a Red Bull and a McLaren to be eliminated in Q2 and that the other Red Bull gets into Q3 with no sets of new soft tyre available - but what is certain is that the new parts we have brought here have resulted in us taking a step in the right direction: sure, it's not yet enough to fight for the very top places."

Despite his optimism at qualifying third, Alonso is remaining level headed about the team's race chances on Sunday.

"It's a good basis to start from for this weekend, but the points come tomorrow. We will try and get a good start, especially as some of my main opponents in the title fight start behind us and we must try and make the most of that. Tyre performance will be a critical factor: we will have to be careful, because the forecast is for different temperatures to today and that could throw up some surprises. Racing in front of this amazing crowd always gives me some extra motivation!"