Mark Webber says it is no surprise that Ferrari has proved so strong at the German Grand Prix, as he also refused to write off McLaren's hopes of beating Red Bull Racing at Hockenheim.
The Australian's teammate Sebastian Vettel took pole position by just two thousandths of a second from the rejuvenated Ferrari team, as Fernando Alonso eyes grabbing a crucial haul of points to help boost his title challenge. With Ferrari now appearing to have got its season back on track in pace terms, Webber has admitted that he predicted before this weekend that Ferrari would start being a thorn in Red Bull Racing's side.
When asked if he was surprised Ferrari was so close to Red Bull Racing, Webber said: "Not really. They were very, very quick at Silverstone to be honest, but they had a poor first lap. And we are predicting they will be strong next week.
"I went to my pub during the week and a guy there said to me, 'Do you have any tips on who I should put the money on because all the guys, their odds are very short?' I said to put some money on Alonso to win Budapest. But maybe I am wrong and he will win tomorrow."
The Australian also refused to rule out McLaren, despite the team having to settle for a place on the third row in spite of having continued to run with its blown diffuser.
"McLaren are not struggling, it is just that it is very competitive at the front now," he said. "It was inevitable it is going to happen and this type of track, this type of layout, is a s short lap. A blown diffuser is not going to win or lose a championship. There are so many more things on top of that. A blown diffuser is peanuts in the grand scheme of things."
When asked if he was relieved the McLaren updates had not worked as expected, he said: "Let's see tomorrow night. I am not going to sit here and say people are uncompetitive before the race."
Webber, who will start the race from fourth position, admitted he had lost at least a place because of a mistake during Q3.
"Today I lost my last run so that was a mistake from my side. It was a pretty tight qualy up until then, and I would have liked to have had my last attempt as that is when you need to do it but I got Turn 1 wrong and I paid the price to have a chance to go for the front row but I definitely lost third place, obviously.
"First time I have been off the front row for a long time, but looking forward to the race tomorrow."