Fernando Alonso feels McLaren will be back in their familiar 'sitting duck' role on Sunday in Malaysia and does not fancy his chances of keeping Sebastian Vettel behind him.
Both McLaren-Honda cars will start from the top 10 with Stoffel Vandoorne up in P7 and Alonso himself in 10th spot. Vettel is starting from the very back due to engine issues ending his qualifying session very early.
But, despite their starting positions, Alonso is fully expecting Vettel to glide past him at some stage on Sunday.
“No it’s going to be nearly impossible,” said Alonso.
“We saw some races of Sebastian starting last in the last year, I don’t know where, and he finished fifth I remember. So I think that’s too much of a target for us.”
Alonso is also hoping some rain can aid McLaren's push for more precious points.
“I think it’s going to be tough,” he added. “The race pace we know is not as strong as in qualifying sometimes. So we probably struggle a little bit more tomorrow.”
“But we’ll see. Maybe some rain coming and that will improve things for us, probably.”
McLaren rejoiced on Friday after a sucessful introduction of their new aerodynamic package, but Alonso fears that they may have spoken too soon.
He said: “It didn’t [help] today. Yesterday they were OK and we made public that very clear. Maybe today we need to un-public something.”