Canadian GP: Ferrari's Fernando Alonso optimistic for win

Felipe Massa crashes during qualifying

Canadian Grand Prix, day three

Sunday, 9 June :
Race: Coverage on BBC One 18:15 & Radio 5 live from 18:00; live text commentary on the BBC Sport website. TV highlights 01:15 BST, BBC Three

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso believes he is in a position to potentially win the Canadian Grand Prix despite starting in sixth place on the grid.

Alonso said he needs to beat Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel, who is 29 points ahead in the championship and on pole.

"We start in a position that gives us all the chances to win the race if we are quick enough," Alonso said.

"We need to get it back on the right way and score many points and show the potential in the car."

Watch Vettel's Canada GP pole lap

Alonso's Ferrari was the quickest car in the dry in second practice on Friday, both over one lap and on the race-simulation runs, but the car is less competitive in the damp conditions that prevailed in qualifying.

More mixed weather is predicted for the race on Sunday, although the temperature is expected to be warmer than Saturday's 16C.

Alonso said: "We don't know what the conditions will be in the race, but this year we saw Monaco and here again that we are not super-competitive in intermediate tyre conditions.

"And in cold conditions also when we put on the dry tyres it's even worse. Same for Lotus as well. We saw they were struggling."

Alonso was 1.079 seconds slower than Vettel in qualifying and 0.296secs slower than the German's team-mate Mark Webber, who was fifth.

The Ferrari's low tyre wear means the car struggles to generate tyre temperature in cool and damp conditions, so beating the Red Bulls and Mercedes - whose drivers Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg are second and fourth on the grid - was always going to be difficult.

The surprise of qualifying was Finn Valtteri Bottas taking third for struggling Williams.

Alonso said: "There are some teams that are able to make the tyre get up to temperature very quickly and then they struggle in the race because they destroy the tyres, and it is the opposite for Lotus and us.

"Difficult to understand the reason because sometimes you don't know why this happens. But we are happy with our car.

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Canadian Grand Prix

"Today we didn't maximise it. We didn't put the lap together at the perfect time that I think was around the middle of qualifying three.

"At the end it was more wet and no-one improved so much. When we were in the pits changing tyres it was the perfect time in terms of conditions."

Lotus's Kimi Raikkonen, who is second in the championship eight points ahead of Alonso, qualified ninth, although he will start 10th after being given a penalty for not starting in the 'fast lane' of the pit lane at one stage in qualifying.

Raikkonen said: "This kind of weather has never been good for us. We don't really get the tyres working as well as we should probably and it makes it very difficult, but it is what it is.

"We have to see how the weather is tomorrow because some weather forecasts say it should be dry, some that it is damp. If it is dry it is going to be easier for us and then we see what we can do."

Alonso said Ferrari had made a mistake in doing only one lap on the first of his two runs in final qualifying rather than two - and admitted he had made errors as well.

"People did two plus two," Alonso said. "We did one plus two and I think we missed a little bit of lap time there and when I put new tyres for the second attempt I locked up in Turn 10 and lost a lot of time, so a little bit of mixed mistakes."

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