SINGAPORE, Sept 22, 2011 (AFP) - Ferrari drivers Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa believe they can both finish on the podium in the Singapore Grand Prix this weekend and delay Sebastian Vettel's double world title celebrations.
Two-times world and Singapore winner Alonso is aiming for a hat-trick of Marina Bay victories as Massa is bidding to return to the podium for the first time this year.
"I have always managed to make the podium in the three previous editions (of this race) and my objective is to make it four out of four," said Alonso.
"A third victory to go with those of 2008 and last year would clearly be fantastic, but I know that it will be very hard.
"At Monaco (a circuit with similar characteristics) we certainly came very close to victory - and without the final red flag I think I would have had an excellent chance to overtake Sebastian - but it's also true that you can't always guarantee that things go the same way.
"What is certain is that we will give everything. I think we have a chance to do well as long as we get the best out of every aspect: tyres, set-up, engine, teamwork, everything has to be at 100 per cent.
"We hope to repeat the weekend of 2010 and thus to present another victory to the 'Prancing Horse' and to all our fans. That is our target, one that will remain for all the coming races."
The Spaniard knows that if he finishes on the podium in any position, Red Bull's Vettel cannot take the title this weekend and the title-fight will have to go on into final five rounds of the season.
Massa, whose future at Ferrari has been a subject for mounting speculation, said: "I hope it will definitely be better than how it was the last races for me. "We were not so competitive, so I hope we can be more competitive here.
"For sure we don't have really many things new on the car, but it is a different track so I hope we can see a more competitive car. Our expectation is always to be better, but we need to wait and see."
The Brazilian added: "It's a different track, a different everything - many places where we expected not to be good we were, and other places where we expected to be good we were not, so it is difficult to say.
"We just wait and see how it's going to be here."
Despite scoring just one win so far this season, Ferrari have made a lot of progress, according to Massa.
"We improve during the season, we didn't start in a great direction, especially in qualifying, but the performance improved a lot. "Unfortunately I was not very, very lucky in the races. In Spa we had a problem with the tyres and in the last race I had a little push from another car.
"It is true that we were not very, very lucky, but let's concentrate and keep the same direction for qualifying, try to improve even more for that, try to have the right race from the beginning to the end without anything in the middle."
Alonso still has a mathematical chance to win this year's drivers' title. He is second with 172 points behind German Vettel on 284 - a deficit of 112 points with six races remaining.
For Vettel, a victory on Sunday without Alonso on the podium would ensure his second championship. To stop him, and take the title himself, Alonso would need at least five wins without Vettel suffering unprecedented bad luck or poor form in a pointless streak.