Kartal Alonso rules out podium fight if Hungarian Grand Prix takes place in dry

The Spanish driver, the leader of the championship and the winner of the previous race in Germany, was unable to fight for pole position in qualifying on Saturday.

Alonso will start from sixth position after finishing nearly a second off the time set by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.

The Ferrari driver reckons a top four is the best he can hope for in the race unless rain hits the circuit.

“In the dry, we are not yet able to fight for the very top places, and we are well aware of that,” said Alonso. “Usually, in the race, the situation improves and so we hope we can finish in the top four or five when it’s time for the chequered flag.

“Our aim will be to mark our closest rival in the drivers’ classification and today we know we will be starting ahead of him. Let’s see what the situation will be tomorrow evening.”

The two-time champion admitted the result had not come as a surprise to him give his car’s form in practice.

“We were expecting a very difficult qualifying and so it was,” he added. “We saw at least eight cars – two McLarens, two Force Indias, two Red Bulls and Lotus, running very competitively and therefore just getting to Q3 was in itself a difficult target to reach,” said Alonso.

“We did it and we also managed to slightly improve the handling of the car in the final part, working on the tyre pressures and the front wing. We definitely didn’t get a perfect lap: we lost a handful of tenths in a few corners.”

Alonso warned, however, that if the rain hits the Hungaroring then his prospects will change completely.

“We will have to be super concentrated, especially in how we manage the tyres. It’s true that overtaking is definitely not easy here, but tomorrow, it might yet rain and we know that can change everything.”

Team-mate Felipe Massa will start from seventh position.