Fernando Alonso admitted on Saturday that he needs a clean start and a chance to pass, or pile the pressure on, Sebastian Vettel if he is to keep alive his title challenge in Sunday's Indian Grand Prix.
The 31-year-old Spaniard, who had the fifth best time in the qualifying session will start the race six points behind championship leader and defending champion Vettel in the title contest.
But with just four races remaining, he conceded that he faces an uphill struggle if he cannot break Red Bull's current domination - on Saturday they locked out the front row of the grid for the third straight race.
German Vettel, 25, took his 35th career pole ahead of team-mate Australian Mark Webber.
Alonso, who has seen his once comfortable 42-points lead turned into a six points deficit, said: "Tomorrow we need to overtake McLaren as soon as possible and put pressure on Red Bull to wait for a little mistake, a pit stop problem, reliability or something.
"If they (Red Bull) can start, go away and have an easy race, that's the worst news for us.
"At the moment we are not fighting against Sebastian only -- we are also fighting against (Red Bull designer and technical director, Adrian) Newey, let's say - they finished first or second in the last four races.
"It is not so easy to fight, especially on Saturday, but on Sunday we are normally more competitive."
He conceded that to be on the third row was not perfect, but nor was it disappointing.
"I think its our normal position behind Red Bull and McLaren," he said.
"Even if it looks disappointing, I think its our normal position and at the end of the day we have to make it - Force India and Kimi (Raikkonen) were quite fast so you could end up 8th or 9th very quickly.
"Fifth is our position and a good start position for tomorrow."
His Ferrari team-mate Massa, who starts alongside him in sixth, echoed the Spaniard's thoughts.
He said: "I think so - it is fair. Red Bull showed they are very strong, McLaren are a bit quicker than us and then we are there behind them.
"I hope the car is stronger in the race than in qualifying so we can fight with guys in front. I lost couple of tenths on my lap, but don't think it would change a lot."