Fernando Alonso believes that Lotus’s Kimi Raikkonen could be in with the best chance of winning the Chinese Grand Prix.
Alonso will start the race from third place, behind Lewis Hamilton and Raikkonen.
“To end qualifying with both cars in the top five is a result that fills me with hope for the race,” said Alonso.
“The F138 has been competitive all weekend and that means we have made a step forward.”
I’m definitely expecting an interesting race in which the biggest threat could come from Raikkonen as the Lotus has shown it manages its tyres well.”
Alonso also reckons that Red Bull is unlikely to pose a threat, with Vettel and Webber starting from only ninth and twenty-second on the grid.
“In terms of establishing what will be the best strategy, we will be in for a long night and that will be the case for everyone, given that almost all our main competitors will start on the Softs. I’m not concerned about Red Bull’s choice and Mercedes usually has a higher degradation than ours.”
Team-mate Felipe Massa set the fifth fastest time and admits he fell slightly short of his expectations.
“It was a good qualifying, with the car working well and being quick. To be honest, after my performance in the second and third free practice sessions, I expected to start in the top three,” said Massa.
“Today, our main competitors probably did better than us, but the race is long and anything can happen. Tyre management and tactical choices will definitely be the key factors.”