Alonso: Sixth was Renault's maximum

Former double world champion Fernando Alonso believes that sixth position was the 'maximum' he could achieve in qualifying for the season finale in Brazil, despite setting the pace through much of free practice

Alonso: Sixth was Renault's maximum

Despite this, the Renault driver who 12 months ago came into the final race of the season at Interlagos challenging for the world title, remains confident of a strong result on Sunday.

"We thought that it would be very close and competitive this afternoon and we were not mistaken," he said. "We knew that it would be difficult to try and match the Ferraris and McLarens and so I think we have done our maximum this afternoon by qualifying in sixth place.

"I now hope that the strategy and the tyres work as expected so that we can have a strong race tomorrow."

Teammate Nelson Piquet, competing in his first home grand prix weekend, admitted he was disappointed not to have joined Alonso in Q3 and felt afterwards that he'd had the potential to do so.

"It's clear that I would have liked to reach Q3 today," admitted the Brazilian rookie, who starts 11th on Sunday. "The car was working well, I was comfortable and I pushed hard, but that wasn't enough.

"The times are very close, just as we expect, but I must now concentrate on the race tomorrow where I will do everything to try and move forward and score some points."

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