Fernando Alonso has warned the Formula 1 title contenders that his Alpine squad "have nothing to lose" in the Japanese Grand Prix.
Alonso qualified seventh at Suzuka with teammate Esteban Ocon ahead in fifth on a strong weekend for Alpine as they look to overhaul McLaren for fourth in the Constructors' after losing the position after Singapore.
Max Verstappen can clinch the World Championship in the race if he out-scores Charles Leclerc by eight points and Sergio Perez by six.
Both are ahead of Ocon and Alonso - but the 2006 Suzuka winner is optimistic of a strong result - especially if it is wet.
Alonso issues warning
"I'm pleased to be starting seventh, and I think we might be even more competitive in wet conditions, so I’m hoping for the weather to be a bit mixed tomorrow," Alonso explained.
"If it’s a chaotic race, then we have a lot less to lose than the cars in front of us who are battling for the Championships.
"The car has felt great all weekend and I’m surprised about how close all of the teams are this weekend, with only a few tenths of a second separating a number of cars.
"If there is some rain, we will stay focused and there is a possibility to be in the top five by the chequered flag."
Viewed by others:
Satisfying for Ocon
Ocon, who will be partnered by Pierre Gasly in 2023 when Alonso departs for Aston Martin praised the team's efforts, especially in bringing upgrades that have worked.
"I’m delighted with today and how the weekend has unfolded so far, fifth place is a great result for us," he said.
"It is very satisfying to bounce back in this manner and show our potential. The upgrades are working well, and our car suits this circuit, so it’s a job well done from everyone trackside and at both factories.
"We are in a solid position to score points with both cars tomorrow."
F1 Podcast: Should Perez’s Singapore penalty have been decided during the race?
RacingNews365.com F1 journalists Dieter Rencken and Michael Butterworth discuss the key topics from the Singapore Grand Prix, including whether Sergio Perez's punishment should have been decided during the race rather than after.