Alonso: 'Very difficult' session
Championship leader hoping for wet race
By Mike Wise in Budapest. Last Updated: 28/07/12 5:26pm
Fernando Alonso said he was happy enough with sixth place on the grid for the Hungarian Grand Prix after what he called a "very difficult qualifying" for Ferrari.
The World Championship leader has claimed pole position in wet qualifying sessions at both the last two races but he was forced on to the backfoot in hot, sunny conditions at the Hungaroring.
Both McLarens and Lotuses, together with Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, line up ahead of Alonso but with the drivers' standings in mind, the Spaniard sought solace in having outqualified his nearest challenger, Red Bull's Mark Webber, who lines up 11th on the grid.
"Usually, in the race, the situation improves and so we hope we can finish in the top four or five when it's time for the chequered flag. Our aim will be to mark our closest rival in the drivers' classification and today we know we will be starting ahead of him," said Alonso.
"Let's see what the situation will be tomorrow evening."
Alonso admitted he lost "a handful of tenths in a few corners" but also reckoned the session showed that Ferrari's F2012 still lags behind its rivals.
But with rain remaining a possibility for Sunday's race, the double World Champion also has his eyes on the heavens and his fingers crossed.
"We were expecting a very difficult qualifying and so it was. We saw at least eight cars - two McLarens, two Force Indias, two Red Bulls and Lotus, running very competitively and therefore, just getting to Q3 was in itself a difficult target to reach," Alonso said.
He added: "All things considered, sixth place is not to be sneered at, far from it. It's true that overtaking is definitely not easy here, but tomorrow, it might yet rain and we know that can change everything."
Judging tyre degradation by and large remains guesswork for teams after Friday's rain shower hampered their attempts to undertake long runs.
Alonso's team-mate Felipe Massa, who lines up right behind him in seventh, admitted that strategy options remain open.
"For sure, we need to check everything always before the race to have an idea. We can do maybe two stops I think, but we need to see the first stint, we need to see how the tyres degrade in the race, which will be very hot as well," the Brazilian said.
"Many things change in the race compared to the position before. We need to wait and see."