Fernando Alonso faces a difficult task heading in to tomorrow's Brazilian Grand Prix. The Spaniard set the eighth fastest time, three places below teammate Felipe Massa and four behind title rival Sebastian Vettel, before being promoted to seventh courtesy of Pastor Maldonado's grid penalty.
Both Ferrari drivers have looked some way off the pace of Red Bull and McLaren throughout the weekend, leaving Alonso to hope for something out of the ordinary to help his chances of winning a third world championship.
"We need a chaotic race in a way to mix up the positions a little," he said after qualifying. "Maybe rain can help but we never know. We need to push the maximum, to enjoy tomorrow's race and try to be on the podium."
With rain expected for tomorrow's race many suggested Alonso was running a higher downforce set up in anticipation of wet race, a notion the 31-year-old denied, saying he simply didn't have any more pace.
"Nothing happened. (I'm) happy with the lap, happy with how qualifying went. We were seventh in Abu Dhabi, we were ninth in the USA, we are eighth here so no surprises with that. We finished on the podium in the last races starting from those positions so hopefully tomorrow we can repeat that performance."
Earlier this week, writing for Pitpass, former Red Bull driver Christian Klien predicted that Ferrari wouldn't be able to live with the pace at the front this weekend.
"The Red Bull has been the best car for a lot of the season, along with the McLaren," wrote the Austrian. "But, if it's wet, Alonso's such a calm, experienced driver, and Ferrari has been good with strategy for much of the year, that I think he could just pip Vettel to the post.
"Alonso is driving brilliantly, better than I ever remember seeing," Klien added. "On balance you have to say that Alonso has got more out of his package than Vettel, I dread to think what Fernando could do in a Red Bull!"
Vettel needs only to finish fourth or better to claim a third straight title.
Check out our Qualifying gallery, here.