Fernando Alonso was in upbeat mood after the Indian GP, despite winner Sebastian Vettel extending his lead to 13 points.
Alonso did a great job of damage limitation by working his way into second place after starting fifth.
“I think it’s good news for us, seeing that we could fight Red Bull in the race,” said Alonso. “More or less we knew this. In qualifying we are not close enough to fight for pole position but in the race normally things improve for us.
“Today was another example but it was perfect for the strategy from the team – very good start, very good top speed and tyre management. Everything set up for the race, everything was fine and I push 120 per cent every lap, so the combination was this second place.”
Nevertheless he says the car still has to be improved by the next race.
“I think we need to bring some new parts to Abu Dhabi, hopefully improve a little bit more then competitiveness of the car, try to be a little bit closer to Red Bulls on Saturday and hopefully on Sunday as well.
“Obviously three races remaining – the championship is the main target so we need to recover some points and will be nice to finish in front of Sebastian in Abu Dhabi, whatever the position it is. And if we can win the race it will be even better – but for that we need to make a step forward. At the moment we are not able to win.”
Alonso remains positive about his championship chances: “We know that there were still 100 points [available] yesterday, and now 75 points. We are 13 behind. We know that we need to improve. We are not fast enough, especially on Saturdays, as I said, but hopefully we can improve the situation in Abu Dhabi or in USA.
“The races are long, and as we saw today with Mark, a KERS problem can happen to anyone, it can happen to Seb, it can happen to me and it can happen to all of us. Still many points on the table and I’m still very optimistic.”