ABU DHABI, Nov 3, 2012 (AFP) - Fernando Alonso's hopes of mounting a revival in his bid to claim a third drivers world title and his first with Ferrari suffered a setback on Saturday when he qualified only seventh for Sunday's Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
But the 32-year-old Spaniard remained steadfast in his belief that he can win the drivers championship after seeing title rival Sebastian Vettel, who has a 13-points lead, take only third place on the grid.
"We were not competitive today, but I'm happy with my performance," said Alonso.
"We struck the maximum. We did a 1:41.5 in Q1, a 1:41.5 in Q2 and a 1:41.5 in Q3. Normally, the pace improves for Sunday so let's hope we can recover some pace and make up some competition.
"It is not the end and we still believe we can do something... "
Team-mate Felipe Massa qualified ninth and said: "Not good -- we expected fifth or sixth.
"The track is important here. McLaren were not on pole in the last race and the Red Bull were by a big margin so the track counts for a lot.
"We had some different parts on Fernando's car because he is better on the data. I hope we will be competitive in the race."
Earlier, Alonso said: "I truly believe we can win the title. Sebastian is on a very good run after four wins, but things have been up and down for everybody and things will change. We will get some extra speed, hopefully in this race.
"At some stage he will not have a good weekend and we will get our opportunity.
"It is a fact that Red Bull are stronger. They have dominated maybe similar to last year, but in this year we are not 100 points behind, we are 13 points behind."