Fernando Alonso believes Ferrari has the pace to take the fight to Red Bull Racing in the Singapore Grand Prix, despite ending the time sheets well adrift of his title rivals.
Alonso's best lap was more than one second slower than pacesetter Sebastian Vettel, but the final times disguised the Ferrari drivers' full potential – with the Spaniard on Vettel's pace in the first two sectors on a quick lap before getting it wrong and running off track.
That lap has left Alonso quite confident about his team's potential for the Singapore weekend – as he eyes adding more valuable points to his tally to close the gap on championship leader Mark Webber. When asked by AUTOSPORT where he felt Ferrari's potential was compared to Red Bull Racing, Alonso said: "I think we are close to them. We were more or less close with the hard tire and then I didn't complete the lap with the soft tire, so I guess they are in front.
"They are still a little bit in front of us, a couple of tenths, but hopefully we can fight with them and are close enough tomorrow."
Alonso said his error late in second practice was simply the result of driver error.
"I braked late for Turn 18," he said. "Then I put reverse to get back on the track and, when I put first gear to rejoin the circuit, the engine stopped. So I finished the session there. Unfortunately, we lost the last 20 minutes when we were ready to try something else – but no big problem."
Alonso experimented both with and without the F-duct during Friday's free practice session, and he said he expected the team to decide to stick with the blown wing from Saturday.
"We were trying some different parts of the car in the first session," he said. "But we were concentrating on the F-duct, trying to see what the best solution is.
"At the moment there isn't a clear picture. We need to analyze more data but I think Plan A is to use it. It was OK; it was working fine, so normally we should use it tomorrow, definitely."