Fernando Alonso says Ferrari "must" improve its form for the upcoming races after a disappointing weekend in Singapore so far the Italian squad.
The championship leader, 37 points ahead of Singapore poleman Lewis Hamilton, admitted Ferrari cannot afford to go into the back-to-back races in Japan and Korea with such a big pace gap to its rivals.
"I was expecting more on Thursday when I got here because you think it can be a better circuit for you," said Alonso. "But after yesterday we saw we weren't as quick as in Monza right from the first laps.
"So being fifth today is probably a bit better than the average this year.
"But we have to score points tomorrow and then we must improve for Suzuka and Korea, because you can't be 1.5 seconds behind your rivals."
Nonetheless, Alonso said Ferrari could be pleased with his qualifying performance given his car's form at Marina Bay.
"I think we can be satisfied," he added. "We haven't been very quick all weekend so fifth is probably the maximum we were hoping for.
"Fifth here is probably better than fourth because you start from the clean side and it can be important. So it's been a good day.
"But anyway, not being in the fight with the best all weekend has been the worst news."
Alonso remains open about his chances of finishing on the podium on Sunday, but he admits the first priority is to finish the race.
"We'll see how the race goes. The important thing is to have a good race and score a lot of points. The top priority is to finish the race, and if the others are faster we'll have to congratulate them.
"It's going to be very open and we'll have to be there knowing we need points."