Fernando Alonso expects an all-Red Bull front row for the United States Grand Prix, but does not believe that would be a death knell for his 2012 Formula 1 title hopes.
Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber appear to be in a class of their own at Austin, with the duo topping the times in second free practice. Although that has left Alonso resigned to starting behind the Red Bulls on the grid, he still has faith that Ferrari's race strengths can help him overcome the speed deficit he is battling against.
"There are no surprises for us," he explained. "They [Red Bull] are the quickest out there, they have the fastest package, they do one-two in all the practice [sessions], one-two in all the qualifying [sessions] and, if everything goes normally, one-two in the race. But in the race not everything goes normally and we put more pressure on them on Sundays."
Alonso thinks a combination of Ferrari's teamwork, reliability and consistency is still enough for him to overhaul the 10-point advantage that Vettel has in the drivers' championship.
"We will take our opportunities, we will fight every lap in the race and we know the strong point of them, we keep repeating it every race," he said. "It is the speed of the package. They are very quick and our strong points are the united team, a very strong team and the reliability of our car. We try to use each of our strong points.
"I think the important thing is to score 11 points more than them in these two races, and we are still convinced that we can do it."
Alonso added that he was encouraged by the updates that Ferrari had brought to the car this weekend, which included revised wings and a new diffuser.
"The updates, they seem to work," he said. "We are still analysing all the data from today but the first impression is that it is all going good, so I am happy. But obviously if we introduce a little step every race, the others are doing the same, so we keep more or less the gap consistent."