Monza: Fernando Alonso said he `extracted the maximum` from his Ferrari on the way to taking seventh place on the grid for Sunday`s Italian Grand Prix.
Speaking after Saturday`s qualifying session was dominated by the Mercedes team and six Mercedes-powered cars at the front of the grid, the two-time champion Spaniard said he could have done no more.
He finished up more than 1.3 seconds slower than pole sitter Lewis Hamilton.
"I was completely on the limit today," said Alonso, who out-qualified Ferrari team-mate Kimi Raikkonen for the 11th time in 13 races. Finn Raikkonen took 12th place.
"I had two runs in Q2 and two runs in Q3 and I did four identical lap times," said Alonso.
"So, I could put 100 sets of tyres on and I would do identical laps. It was absolutely the maximum.
"Personally I think I extracted the maximum."
Alonso said he had no expectation of fighting with Mercedes or Williams, who filled the front two rows of the grid, in Sunday`s race.
"Obviously Mercedes and Williams are a little bit too fast, and then there is a group of Ferrari, McLaren and Red Bull quite close in one or two tenths, so hopefully we can lead that group," he said.
"Tyre degradation will be important in the race. Probably we have to make a lot of laps with the soft, and a lot of laps with the hard tyre, so we just need to have everything under control if possible."
Raikkonen said: "We changed the car a little bit, but it`s hard to believe that those small changes made it as difficult as it was.
"We had a good weekend on this side and we had no issues. Things were running smoothly, as they should always, and then we had difficulties to get grip in qualifying."