Fernando Alonso says having Lewis Hamilton on pole position for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix is good news for him given Ferrari's form.
The Spaniard has struggled to match the pace of the leading cars all weekend and qualified down in seventh position on Saturday while Ferrari team-mate Felipe Massa was ninth. To Alonso's relief, however, championship rival Sebastian Vettel failed to make it onto the front row and is set to start from third position pending the outcome of an investigation for having stopped on track after qualifying.
"From a championship perspective, it's better that the McLarens are quick here because it doesn't look like we are in the fight," said Alonso, who trails Vettel by 13 points with three races left.
Despite his poor qualifying showing, Alonso remains open-minded about his chances for the race, having finished in second position in India last weekend after starting from fifth.
"In India it also didn't look like we were quick and then on Sunday we ended with a sweet taste in our mouths," he said.
The Ferrari driver insisted he is fighting against for the championship against the best car of the field.
"Red Bull even on a bad Saturday are second and third. We see once again, as I said in India, that we fighting against a car – a very fast car – and not against a driver," he said. "In fact, his teammate is now in front of him here again, so when they are good they are both there and when things go wrong they are a bit further behind and we have to seize every opportunity we get."
The Spaniard said his position in qualifying had not been a surprise at all given how he had fared during practice.
"I think things are they way they always are. I don't know what expectations people had at home and I don't know what expectations people outside the team had," said Alonso. "We were seventh or eighth in most sessions and in qualifying we are seventh and ninth, so we are where we expected. The car worked well, the updates worked well, but the others are improving too, so it's nothing new.
"I would like to be closer to the front, yes, but it is what it is. Fortunately the races are on Sunday and tomorrow the target is to score more points than Vettel. Everything can change, starting from seventh or starting from third. Sometimes you start from pole and something happens, so to decide whether it was a good or a bad weekend, we'll be here at the same time tomorrow. But we'll probably need to improve in the next races."