Ferrari's Alonso expects to challenge Red Bull

Fernando Alonso is confident he can lay down a strong challenge to Red Bull's championship leader Sebastian Vettel in the second half of the season.

The Spaniard drove his improving Ferrari to second place at the Nurburgring, while Vettel was fourth.

"We have been first or second in the last three races, with three different types of circuits and temperatures.

"We saw our consistency and it puts us in a very good position for the final part of the championship," said Alonso.

Alonso trails Vettel by 86 points but the Ferrari driver is optimistic the gap can be closed - particularly with McLaren mounting a strong challenge and collecting their third victory of the season through Lewis Hamilton in Germany.

The next round of the season is in Hungary and Alonso feels his car will benefit from the warmer climate.

He added: "I am looking forward. With a little bit more temperature in the track at Budapest it will be a help for us.

"Soft and super soft tyres for next week should be an advantage for us in the way we take care of our tyres. So in one week I am sure we will have a very interesting race again.

"McLaren did a step forward and is ready to take victories. When there is more competition, you need to take races in a different way, you need to be perfect in all things: the start, the pit stops, qualifying etc.

"We have a small chance to recover the gap in the championship, if we do races like today, we are on the podium and Vettel is not.

"We need the best possible performance from our team and, in my case, we need the best McLaren having the kind of race they did today - but hopefully we can be ahead.

"Red Bull will be extremely strong in Budapest as we saw last year, so it is challenging for us but we are looking forward."