MANama, April 21, 2012 (AFP) - Two-time world champion Fernando Alonso said he had not 'given up' hope of a strong points-scoring finish in the Bahrain Grand Prix despite qualifying only ninth for struggling Ferrari.
The Spaniard, who starts from the fifth row of the grid, said 'anything can happen' in Sunday's race.
"We used all the sets of tyres and we arrived at Q3 empty-handed," said Alonso. "That is why we decided not to set a time in Q3.
"Now we need to decide whether to start with the soft or the medium. Even on paper this circuit was not suited to the characteristics of our car and so all-in-all it hasn't gone badly so far. The car is not performing worse or better than in China. It has been a normal weekend and we hope things go better in the race.
"We will be trying to score points. A lot of things could change tomorrow right up to the last lap as a result of tyre wear and so you have to be ready for any situation that arises."
“The aim? To finish in the points, around sixth or seventh place. I know, it’s not brilliant, but that’s what we can do with the car we have today.”
Team-mate Felipe Massa failed to make the cut for the top-ten shootout for the fourth consecutive race this season. He was eliminated in Q2.
"I decided to save a set of tyres for the race and this has cost me a few places," he said. "But as for the race? I think it won't be easy for us to overtake. Let's see if we can find a good strategy or get a good start."
“We know from our recent experience in Shanghai that, for us, overtaking is more complicated than for others,” the Brazilian explained. “We are suffering here, especially with a lack of traction coming out of the slower corners, and that’s why I expect we will be fighting on the defensive in the race.”