Felipe Massa fears that starting on the right-hand side of the grid could cost him positions at the start of the Hungarian Grand Prix, despite putting in his best qualifying performance of the year relative to his Ferrari team-mate Fernando Alonso.
The Brazilian qualified ahead of the Spaniard for the first time since last August's Belgian GP, but with the Hungaroring notoriously dusty off-line he is concerned that a bad start could drop him behind the double world champion.
Despite this, he hopes to fight with the pace-setting McLaren and Red Bull drivers in the race.
"I'm not very happy to start on the bad side of the grid," said Massa. "There is a big difference between the good side and the bad side so I hope that we can have a good start.
"We saw a very strong Red Bull and McLaren and it was difficult for us to fight with them. The race tomorrow is going to be difficult, but tyre degradation is hard here so hopefully we can do everything right and try to gain more positions.
"I hope we can be better in the race than in qualifying and try to fight with McLaren and Red Bull."
Massa, who was 0.5s slower than pole-sitter Sebastian Vettel in Q3, has not ruled out the possibility of Sunday afternoon's race requiring as many as four pitstops per car.
He does not expect to be sure how many stops he will make until the end of the first stint, which all of the runners in the top 10 will complete on option rubber.
"It's difficult to say how many pitstops," said Massa. "I don't think four stops is impossible. It will be between three or four depending on how the tyres behave.
"We need to wait for the first stint to see how many laps we can use the super soft for. That will give you the direction to follow for the next stops."