Alonso out to 'spring a surprise'
Turkey points "proof that we are improving and fighting back"
Fernando Alonso reckons he could "spring a surprise" at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, although he also conceded that Renault are not yet a top-three team.
The Spaniard, who has struggled for pace for most of the season, has nevertheless seen Renault improve over the last two races.
In both Spain and Turkey, their R28 chassis made the most of aerodynamic and suspension upgrades to move closer to the front of the midfield pack chasing Ferrari, McLaren Mercedes and BMW Sauber.
With the narrow confines of the Monte Carlo street circuit producing the slowest race of the season, Alonso knows that outright pace is not necessarily the guarantee of success it is on other tracks.
And, having won the race in 2006 and 2007, Alonso also has a track record which suggests that, given a strong qualifying performance, he might just shake things up on Sunday.
"We have progressed, but we are still behind Ferrari, McLaren and BMW," the double World Champion said.
"Even though Monaco is a circuit where the driver can really make the difference, a good car will always be an advantage and makes things easier.
"But we will try and spring a surprise and make the most of our opportunities.
"At the moment we are fighting for seventh place, but, as we saw in Istanbul, it is possible to do better if one of the favourites has a problem.
"We therefore need to be ready for any chance that comes our way."
Alonso is currently eighth in the Drivers' standings having bagged nine points, three of which came with his sixth-place finish last time out in Turkey.
"I am really happy. In Turkey we showed that the progress we made in Spain was not simply a coincidence," Alonso added.
"I scored three points, although it's fair to say that the problem Heikki (Kovalainen) had at the start of the race helped me.
"These are three very important points and it's proof that we are improving and fighting back.
"There is still a lot to do before we can fight at the front, but we are moving in the right direction and we are more determined than ever to get there."