The last time Fernando Alonso was on the front row was at last year’s German Grand Prix at Hockenheim, a race he won from pole position.
A year on, the Spaniard has been unable to get an advantage from starting from the front, relying heavily on race strategies and relatively better long run pace to make up places.
Sunday’s German GP at the Nurburgring will be no different.
"Of course, we still need to improve a lot, but in the race we think we can be in the hunt, without forgetting that, regardless of the tyres and the starting positions, it’s the fastest who wins," he added.
Along with his teammate Felipe Massa, Alonso took part in the final leg of qualifying with the slower, more durable medium tyres (primes).
The team has pinned their hopes of a longer first stint than their rivals ahead, all of whom will be starting on the quicker softs (options), which are expected to last for not more than ten laps.
“The strategy we used was dictated by looking at our average qualifying performance, given that pole is not yet within our grasp and the two scenarios were either starting fifth or sixth on the soft tyres or start sixth or seventh on the mediums," Alonso explained. "We won’t know the true worth of our choice until tomorrow."
"Maybe here it’s not too important to start from the front because the soft tyre shows very high degradation and so, from lap 8 onwards the run of pit stops will begin and traffic will build up," Alonso reckoned. "At that point we will have to push like if they were all qualifying laps."
Ever since Alonso joined Ferrari in 2010, he has started on the front row on just seven occasions. In contrast, Sebastian Vettel has been in that position 44 times.
Alonso has won the German GP thrice, the most by any driver on the current grid, but it is unlikely that he would add to that tally on Sunday.