Fernando Alonso said he and Ferrari are aiming to claim a top 10 grid position with reasonable ease thanks to the team's upgraded car for this weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.
The two-time world champion dismissed fears that his low position of 14th in Friday's second free practice signalled another troubled race lay ahead.
He was fastest in Friday morning's opening free practice session, but he was 1.2 seconds off the pace set by Jenson Button of McLaren in the afternoon.
"We didn't improve as much as some other cars, some improved by between one and 1.5 seconds when they went on the soft tyres and I was not able to push them," he said.
"But I was unable to get a clean lap and on my third lap I had traffic as well so I think I can improve a bit tomorrow -- with a clean lap -- and then hopefully I can see this advantage that everyone seems to find on the soft tyres."
He added that he was not certain that Ferrari had made enough of a step forward to become a race-winner, but felt that the improvements would help him make sure of reaching Q3.
"I am confident that we will do the job and with the updates the first signs are positive," he said.
"We need to look more at the data but it looks as we suspected. Tomorrow hopefully we can see some positive signs and we can get into Q3 a little bit more relaxed this time than it has been."