Fernando Alonso says his Renault team need to raise its game in qualifying and in the start of races in order to fight for the podium.
The two-time World Champion finished in seventh at the German Grand Prix despite dropping down the order at the start, having had a clutch problem during the formation lap. Alonso was unable to make much progress while in traffic, but when he was in free air he caught the Brawns and set the fastest lap of the race.
The Spaniard admitted he was encouraged by Renault's form, but reckons his team must get all things right to be able to fight near the top.
"I think for us the race again was getting very difficult after Turn 1," Alonso told
BBC TV. "We had a clutch problem in the formation lap and we lost like five places at the start and then we were in traffic all through the race.
"The last part of the race, that we were in free air, we were very, very quick and we set the fastest lap of the race. That's very positive and it is quite optimistic for the next coming races, but we need to improve Saturday, we need to improve the starts and when we put it all together, maybe we are a contender for the podium."
Alonso survived a scare during the formation lap, when he spun while trying to warm up his tires.
"It was unbelievable. It was so difficult to warm the tires today, with these temperatures. I spun. I tried to recover quickly the car because I didn't want too many cars to overtake me and it was quite a tense start for us."