Apr 13, 2013, 5:30 AM EDT
Fernando Alonso believes that he will be able to challenge for the race win in China relying he perfects his strategy.
The Spanish driver qualified third on Saturday behind Lewis Hamilton and Kimi Raikkonen, and he acknowledged the need to improve his qualifying pace. Ferrari have not claimed a pole position in dry conditions since the 2010 Singapore Grand Prix, but Alonso was confident that they could improve.
“We got some new parts here. Some of them are positive, some of them were not so positive, so we need to keep working on that if we want the pace of the leaders, especially in qualifying,” he explained in an interview.
“Our Sunday pace is good and I don’t see any change here.”
Alonso also recognized the need to be careful when managing his tires in China. This weekend, the Pirelli compounds have worn at a drastic rate but the two-time world champion believes that he is well prepared to deal with this.
“We have not been easiest on tires to be honest. The softs degrade much more and will last not too long, but on the long runs we did, nothing was surprising us. Hopefully we can have a good race, a clean race and be on podium at the end and fighting for the win.
“We will need to be flexible and clever with the strategy.”
This was the first time since the 2012 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that Alonso has outqualified teammate Felipe Massa (who ended up P5), and the Spanish driver showed good race pace in Australia to finish second. However, it is crucial that Alonso does score heavily in China following his DNF at the Malaysian Grand Prix, which left him 22 points behind championship leader Sebastian Vettel.