MONTE carlo, May 26, 2012 (AFP) - Ferrari are making slow, but steady progress and have a chance of grabbing a podium finish in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, said two-time champion Fernando Alonso.
The Spaniard, who will start from fifth on the grid ahead of old rival seven-time champion Michael Schumacher of Mercedes -- who clocked the fastest time, but suffered a five-place grid penalty -- believes he and team-mate Felipe Massa produced their best qualifying show of the season.
But, he said, given their grid positions, a fight for a place on the podium is likely to be their best goal.
"In Italy there's a saying, "he who goes slowly, goes well and goes far," right? Well, that's what we are doing: step by step we are getting closer," said Alonso.
"I am happy with this qualifying, the best as a team that we have seen this season. I have had a good feeling all weekend long. Maybe in Q3, we could have shaved a few hundredths off here and there, but I don't think I'd have moved up any places, given that the driver in front of me is three tenths away.
"Usually here it falls to the top three on the grid to fight for the win, so I think that our realistic goal is a place on the podium, but we also know that surprises are the order of the day.
"We saw that again today, with Michael on pole: I was very pleased for him, even though he won't be able to make the most of it because of the penalty."Massa qualified seventh and will start there behind his former team-mate Schumacher.
"Michael did a great lap and I congratulate him, but it's a shame that he will then find himself very close to me on the grid tomorrow afternoon.
"Let's hope we have a good race and that a new championship can really get underway for me."