Fernando Alonso says Ferrari must brace itself for a tough time in the next two Formula 1 races, as he expects main rival Williams to have the edge in Belgium and Italy.
With the Spaniard accepting that it is 'unrealistic' for Ferrari to believe it can win races on pace this season, its main ambition in the final eight races of the campaign is to beat Williams to third place in the championship.
But with the next two circuits of Spa-Francorchamps and Monza set to play perfectly to the power strengths of the Mercedes-powered Williams team, Alonso knows that the next few weeks will not be easy.
When asked during a Shell media event promoting its Eco-marathon cars at Spa on Thursday if there were hopes of winning a race before the end of the season, Alonso said: "Honestly, I think our target has to be lower.
"It has to be fighting for the constructors' championship in the highest position possible. But it is quite a big competition, a tough competition, with Williams.
"The next two races are quite good for them, so we expect to have tough weekends at the moment against Williams here and in Monza, and we need to cope with that.
"We need damage limitation in the next two races in terms of points, and then attack in the last part [of the season]. I think a grand prix win this year is a little bit unrealistic."
Ferrari is only seven points ahead of Williams in the fight for third place in the constructors' championship.
RAIKKONEN HOPES UPTURN CONTINUES
While Alonso is realistic about Ferrari's prospects in the next few races, team-mate Kimi Raikkonen is hopeful that progress he made in Hungary carries on.
The Finn enjoyed a step forward in form in the last race, and he is encouraged that he may have turned the corner on what has been a difficult campaign so far.
But although he has an amazing record at Spa - having won the Belgian GP four times - he knows that his previous form counts for nothing this time out.
"It doesn't help really what happened in the past," said the Finn.
"Obviously, it has been a pretty difficult season so far, but the last race it felt a bit more normal.
"I could finally drive a bit more like I wanted and it was more fun also. So hopefully when we start here tomorrow it feels similar."
This week's AUTOSPORT magazine - available in shops and online from Thursday morning - contains an exclusive interview with Marco Mattiacci about what it will take to get Ferrari back on top in Formula 1