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F1 NEWS 

Alonso confident of strong race pace

Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, Chinese GPFernando Alonso is optimistic he will be stronger in the race tomorrow after securing third place on the grid for the Chinese Grand Prix.

It is the third time in four races that the Ferrari driver will start from third on the grid.

The Spaniard admitted the result was the best possible for his team, which he reckons is more competitive in race trim.

"I think once again this is the maximum of our potential in qualifying," said Alonso. "We know the race pace is a little bit better for us, and we feel a bit more comfortable with more fuel in the car and more longer runs.

"But in one-lap performance we maximise always the potential. We did in Bahrain, Australia and here, with three times third on the grid, and in Malaysia we made a mistake in Q1.

"In normal situation this is the maximum we can do at the moment."

Alonso admitted he is hoping for a dry race, despite there being over a 90 per cent chance of showers tomorrow.

"I prefer dry, but if it rains it is the same for everybody and this is a race situation," he said.

"If it rains tomorrow it will be fine. It will be interesting to see how the race develops, with the potential of our car and how it normally performs. A dry situation will be more normal for us."

He added: "Tomorrow's race will be determined by the weather. When it rains if it is wet all race then maybe the first car can lead until the end, but in those races you can make a good choice or a bad choice and lose 10 seconds per lap. It is nice to watch on television but very risky for us."

Team-mate Felipe Massa qualified down in seventh.

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