Fernando Alonso says that it is unlikely that he will be able to compete against Sergio Perez for victory at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
Alonso will start the race in second place, behind Perez who secured the second pole position of his Formula 1 career.
The second Red Bull car driven by Max Verstappen will start from 15th after it suffered a driveshaft failure during Q2 on Saturday.
Alonso’s best effort in the final segment of qualifying saw him end up over four and a half tenths down on Perez’s pole time.
Red Bull displayed strong speed in race trim last time out in Bahrain as it cruised to a 1-2 finish.
Alonso expects a similar deficit to exist in Jeddah and doesn’t believe he will be able to fight Perez for the win.
“I don’t know [if we can beat Perez] – I think we are not in that position yet,” Alonso said.
“On pure pace, I think Red Bull is in another league and I think we have to concentrate more on the teams behind. So Ferrari will be very strong, Mercedes are strong, also Alpine – they are fast here.”
Alonso secured a podium finish on his debut with Aston Martin earlier this month as the Silverstone-based squad has taken a sizeable step forward from last year.
The Spaniard is looking to repeat his top three result and says his focus is keeping his rivals behind him to the chequered flag.
“I think our race is just behind us. We saw today Max probably was in his league today in qualifying and he could not complete the qualifying with a mechanical issue.
“Even if we focus on our mirrors and try to keep the people behind, if anything happens in front, we will try to take the opportunity.
“I don’t want to sound pessimistic, but if we see the pace in free practice, and in Bahrain, we have to be honest with ourselves and know that Red Bull is a little bit ahead of everyone.
“That’s not the target tomorrow, to fight for the win with Checo. But, as I said before, Formula 1 is not exact mathematics, you know, anything can happen and today, Verstappen was P15. These things happen sometimes.”
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