Fernando Alonso thinks he still has a shot at victory in Korea despite a disappointing qualifying. The Spanish driver will start from sixth position as his Ferrari was unable to match the pace of McLaren and Red Bull.
Alonso, who finished second in Japan last weekend, was also outqualified by teammate Felipe Massa for the second time this season. Although Alonso conceded that Ferrari was no match for its rivals in qualifying trim, he believes the race could be very different, especially with the high tire degradation expected.
"I can't be happy with sixth, but the position reflects our current situation: McLaren and Red Bull are stronger than us so it just leaves us to fight between ourselves for fifth and sixth places," said Alonso. "That's how Saturday goes, but maybe tomorrow will end up like Sunday in Suzuka and we will find ourselves again fighting for the win.
"When tire degradation is very high, usually we are in good shape, but here the situation is not very clear, as the behavior of the super-softs over a long run and on full tanks is still an unknown quantity. We had considered using this tire right from Q1 but then we decided not to take too many risks.
"Unfortunately, I start from the dirty side of the grid, which should be a major disadvantage here, so I hope I don't lose a place to Rosberg. We will have to keep an eye on what happens ahead of us and exploit the strategy in our favor."
Massa, on the other hand, was pleased with his day's job after finishing over a tenth of a second ahead of Alonso.
"I am happy with my performance today," he said. "I think I got a good lap on my final run, after the first one in Q3, when I used the same set of super-softs I had already run in Q2. My impression is that we are now also improving our Saturday performance, but there are still four cars in front of us and so the grid position stays more or less the same.
"Going into this Grand Prix there was a lot of concern about tire degradation but, at least from what we have seen today, it seems to be less severe than expected. Let's see how things go tomorrow. I am confident: if nothing strange happens to me, as has been the case in the last few races, then I think I can do a good job."