World champion Fernando Alonso reckons it will be hard to beat Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen in tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix.
The Spanish driver, in his maiden Grand Prix with the McLaren team, was unable to match his rival's pace in qualifying, having to settle for second position, over four tenths behind Raikkonen.
But Alonso reckons he is still with a chance of winning the race, especially if Ferrari have problems like in today's session, where Felipe Massa was hit by a gearbox failure. The Brazilian will start from 16th position.
"They have been very strong here in the long runs," said Alonso. "I think to be honest we have to say they should be quicker tomorrow and we should be having a little bit hard time if we want to beat them.
"We saw today Felipe stopped with a gearbox problem and it is 58 laps and you have to be there. We have to push them and fingers crossed we will be on the podium tomorrow."
Despite missing out on pole position, Alonso was delighted with his performance.
"I think it was very good to be honest," he said. "I had some problems this morning to try and find the right set-up and the team did a great job putting everything in place for qualifying and I felt Q1 was much, much better Q2. It is a great result to start the season and confident for tomorrow's race.
"We should try and win the race for sure, we are in the second best position to win it, I think we can do it. We made a huge progress and a huge improvement from the last test in the long run which was maybe our weakness point.
"We should be quite happy with the qualifying and quite optimistic for tomorrow."
The world champion finished two places ahead of teammate Lewis Hamilton, who had an impressive maiden qualifying, outpacing Alonso in the first two sessions.
"He has been doing a fantastic job this weekend and very competitive all sessions and in qualifying as well, so tomorrow will be a good opponent and we can score many points for the team if everything keeps going in this direction," Alonso added.