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Aug 22nd
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Alonso: Reaching Q3 was an achievement

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Championship leader Fernando Alonso has insisted that even making the Q3 session was an achievement for him and team mate Felipe Massa in qualifying for the Hungarian GP, as the Ferrari men struggled for performance against their rivals.

Alonso ended up lining up sixth on the grid, behind championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel, but five places ahead of nearest rival Mark Webber.

The result looked like a disappointment to the team, with Alonso looking to extend a run of five podium finish in the last six races.

But the Spaniard insisted that the team getting both their cars through to Q3 in an intense session had been a good result.

"We were expecting a very difficult qualifying and so it was," he rambled, having said precisely nothing on the subject on Friday.

"We saw at least eight cars - two McLarens, two Force Indias, two Red Bulls and Lotus, running very competitively and therefore, just getting to Q3 was in itself a difficult target to reach.

"We did it and we also managed to slightly improve the handling of the car in the final part."

He added: "We definitely didn't get a perfect lap: we lost a handful of tenths in a few corners [but] all things considered, sixth place is not to be sneered at."

But as far as a strong result in the race was concerned, he admitted that he may be left to hope for wet weather in the race to mix up the order.

"It's true that overtaking is definitely not easy here, but tomorrow, it might yet rain and we know that can change everything," he muttered.

"We will have to be super concentrated, especially in how we manage the tyres.

"In the dry, we are not yet able to fight for the very top places, and we are well aware of that. Usually, in the race, the situation improves and so we hope we can finish in the top four or five when it's time for the chequered flag."

Team mate Massa, who qualified seventh behind the Spaniard, added: "Not an easy qualifying for the team.

"Both Fernando and myself struggled to put together a perfect lap, which can be seen from the fact we were quicker in Q2 than Q3.

"A shame, because in Q2, I had done a good time and I was expecting to improve still further, but unfortunately, I was slower so now we must find out why."

On his chances in the race, he added: "We will have to wait and see how things turn out in [the race], but I think we are still in with a chance of fighting for a podium finish, even if we are up against very strong opposition."

Team boss Stefano Domenicali added: "We were well aware that we still do not have the quickest car in terms of outright performance, something we have said so often these past weeks.

"We managed to get both Fernando and Felipe into Q3 where they secured positions that are nevertheless not too bad in terms of the championship, given that the opponent currently posing the biggest threat to Fernando will start behind us."