Fernando Alonso is hoping to capitalise on his second row start position in Spain but says his lap time perhaps flattered Ferrari's updates.
The Italian stable arrived in Spain with at least six changes to their F2012 which all at Ferrari had billed as a step forward. The team, though, were quick to point out that how big a step they wouldn't know until qualifying.
And that indicated that it was a large step.
Alonso put his F2012 up into third place, just 0.595s adrift of Lewis Hamilton's pole position time and only 0.017s down on a front row start position.
Asked if his P3 indicated a clear step foward for the Italian stable, Alonso said: "Yeah, I think so.
"Obviously for us it was even impossible to dream about being in top three the first four races. We just arrived in Q3 with not new sets [of tyres] left, so definitely it's a step forward.
"The grid is so compact now if you improve two or three tenths it makes a huge difference in terms of position - five or six positions.
"So definitely we did a step forward."
However, the Spaniard downplayed how big a step it was, saying it was perhaps flattered by his "perfect" flying lap.
"I still doubt how much we did because maybe P3 is a little bit overperforming what we can do at the moment, but I'm extremely happy with the lap.
"It was perfect.
"I don't think there is much more to come: I could put on 100 more sets of tyres and repeat the lap time probably so it is the way it is.
"So I'm extremely happy for today and hopefully we capitalise this good starting position tomorrow with a good result."
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