Fernando Alonso still believes the podium is the best Ferrari can hope for in the Japanese Grand Prix as he expects Red Bull will run away with the race.
Alonso's Ferrari was second to Jenson Button's McLaren in Friday practice at Suzuka, but the Spaniard anticipates a big step from Red Bull tomorrow.
"Our target, our aim, is to fight for the podium in the races that are now to the end," said Alonso. "But we know that Red Bull tomorrow will be very strong, as normally they are on Saturday. On this type of circuit, the normal result is Red Bull first and second so we need to fight with McLaren for the third position."
Alonso thinks he can find a little more time in himself for tomorrow.
"There is always something to gain in qualifying, and I am sure all drivers will try and find something more, even if you say Suzuka is a track that if you push a little bit over the limit you probably go off the track, so you need to balance, that but in my case I am sure that tomorrow hopefully I can find some more tenths, especially in the first sector," he said.
"The Esses, when you go through there, you think you can push a little bit more in the next lap, but with this year's tires there is not any more the next lap – you have only one chance, so tomorrow in Q3 I am sure that we will find the perfect lap."
With no upgrades on the Ferrari this weekend, Alonso said the focus today had been on tire work, and he expects a high number of pit stops in the race.
"There were not new parts in the car so we tried to concentrate on the tires, giving the possibility in a short run to see what is the performance like and then in the long run with both cars different tires, try to see the performance in the long run as well," he explained.
"We had some good conclusions but it is true that the degradation seems quite important here, as we knew already with the characteristics of the track, so I expect in the race we need to take care of the tires for sure and the number of pit stops will be quite high."