Fernando Alonso reckons he got more out of his Ferrari than its potential indicated during qualifying for the Brazilian GP.
The double World Champ has spent much of this season trailing the Red Bulls and McLarens in qualifying and it was more of the same in Brazil on Saturday.
Alonso posted a 1:12.591 around the Interlagos circuit, which was only a tenth down on Lewis Hamilton's McLaren, closer than the Spaniard had expected to be.
"My subscription to fifth place has been extended for one more Saturday!" he said.
"This time however, getting to my classic starting place on the grid was a bit more of a struggle than usual.
"We are not very pleased with the balance of the car and we were expecting a very competitive Mercedes.
"However, in Q3, we got much closer to the McLarens than we could have expected, while the first of the Mercedes was left a few tenths back.
"What this means is that we managed to get a little bit more out of it than our potential would indicate.
"I certainly can't say the way qualifying went was much of a surprise."
Looking ahead to Sunday's grand prix, Alonso is still hoping for rain, saying that would be Ferraris best chance of fighting their rivals for a podium finish.
"If it really rains tomorrow, it will be a very exciting and open race: no one really knows how competitive they can be in the wet and then it requires next to nothing - one lap more or less out on track at a time when the conditions change - to turn around a situation that looks set in stone.
"It's true that for us, the problem of getting the tyres up to temperature are more acute in the wet, but then it's equally true that when the track does dry, we are quicker than our rivals: the various stages of the race at Silverstone demonstrated this to be the case.
"If however, we were to race in the dry, then maybe there will be a lot of stops because today the tyres seemed to degrade more than yesterday.
"The perfect recipe for the last race of the year? The four in front of us stop and me and Felipe are ahead of the rest!"
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