Fernando Alonso is convinced his Ferrari team will catch the leading teams this year after another solid performance in qualifying for the European Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver, who was fighting for victory in the previous two races in Monaco and Canada, will start tomorrow's race from fourth place. Alonso said he was not disappointed with the result, as he is aware of the strength of Red Bull and McLaren. The Ferrari driver is encouraged by the progress made by his team, which he believes will be able to get closer to its rivals soon.
"I don't think this was a disappointing qualifying, because even if there were those outside the team who built up expectations, within it, we were well aware of the situation," said Alonso. "The aim was to fight with the McLarens and we did just that. Maybe we had hoped to be ahead of both, but instead we find ourselves splitting the two drivers.
"I reckon that tomorrow we could see different strategies in terms of pitstops. Our aim is to finish on the podium and we are in with a chance. The development work on the car is progressing well, but we are a long way behind in terms of aerodynamics, which to put a time value on it means two or three months. It will not be easy to catch up but we will do all we can to succeed."
Alonso also claimed it was no surprise to see Sebastian Vettel on pole again despite the rule changes introduced this weekend.
"I did not expect that the very slight change introduced to the rules would change the order of things and that was the case: Red Bull was and still is the favorite. We will see if at Silverstone, where there are more significant changes coming, something will happen, but we need to keep in mind that everyone or almost everyone will suffer a drop in performance."
Teammate Felipe Massa qualified in fifth position after a tough qualifying, but the Brazilian was also pleased with the development rate of his team.
"It wasn't an easy qualifying, even if fourth and fifth places is definitely not a bad result," he said. "Maybe the others, especially McLaren, managed to find a little something extra between practice and qualifying, while Red Bull continues to be very strong, as was predictable.
"We have become more competitive over the past three races and our aim is to keep going down this path. We must push on the development of the car, especially as next year's regulations will be more or less the same, therefore any work we do now could be helpful in the long term too."