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Fernando Alonso calm over qualifying forecast at Suzuka

Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel

Highlights - Japanese GP second practice

By Sarah Holt in Suzuka

Fernando Alonso said he was not worried about the prospect of a wet qualifying session for the Japanese Grand Prix.

Heavy rain is forecast for Saturday and there are fears qualifying might have to be postponed until race day on Sunday, when dry weather is expected.

The Ferrari driver admitted rain would produce difficult conditions and the possibility of a mixed-up grid.

"There is a possibility to overtake so we don't need to worry about the (grid) positions we are in," said Alonso.

"We need to be in the best position possible but knowing that the race is on Sunday with the dry conditions we expect, anything can happen.

"I suspect some teams will be quick in wet conditions - maybe Mercedes and Renault and Williams - and maybe they can have a very good qualifying."

Fernando Alonso

Ferrari must pressure Red Bull - Alonso

Alonso heads into the Japanese race on the back of two consecutive wins, which have moved him up to second in the championship behind Red Bull's Mark Webber.

Webber, Alonso, McLaren's Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button and Red Bull's Sebastian Vettel are all within one win of the championship lead.

Overtaking is usually difficult at Suzuka but Alonso has experience of making up ground from a poor grid position there.

He finished third in the 2005 Japanese Grand Prix after starting 16th, despite being delayed by a controversial stewards' decision, and the race was won by McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen who started 17th.

Alonso admitted after two dry practice sessions on Friday that the Red Bulls of Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber were clearly the fastest cars.

No surprises, we knew Red Bull are quick here, maybe the best circuit for them of the last four

Ferrari's Fernando Alonso

But he said he was hopeful they would not have the race all their own way.

"I'm sure there is speed to come for tomorrow," said Alonso. "Always on Saturday, you put everything in the car, the best pieces, the best set-up etc but I guess for them [Red Bull] there is more to come too.

"No surprises, we knew Red Bull are quick here, this is maybe the best circuit for them of the last four. We need to push them and make them push as well and not to have an easy weekend."

Asked which of Red Bull and McLaren he now regarded as Ferrari's main rivals, Alonso made it clear he is more concerned about the former.

"Looking at the competitiveness of the car, Red Bull [are our biggest rivals], they are very dominant," said the Spaniard.

JONATHAN LEGARD'S BLOG

"At Monza they were a little bit weak but at the rest they were favourites every Saturday, every Sunday. For the remaining races I see the Red Bull car very strong, but I see also McLaren have fought for many championships in the history of Formula 1, so they will know how to deal with this situation.

"They have two world champions in the cars so they have that experience as well, so McLaren will be a tough rival as well."

The prospect of a delayed qualifying session has arisen because of forecast's that predict up to 50mm of rain could fall on Saturday.



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see also
Red Bull on top in Japan practice
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton suffers practice crash
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Next two races critical - Vettel
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Japanese GP practice as it happened
08 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Japanese Grand Prix practice results
24 Feb 10 |  Results
Alonso declares himself favourite
07 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Hamilton eyes championship charge
07 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
McLaren duo 'still in title hunt'
06 Oct 10 |  Formula 1
Sauber sign Perez as new driver
04 Oct 10 |  Formula 1


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