Fernando Alonso has adopted an unusual simile to describe the current climate within Ferrari, likening his team to a group of ants.

Alonso goes into Sunday's Chinese Grand Prix as championship leader, five points clear of McLaren's Lewis Hamilton, a position he has no qualms in conceding surprises him.

"Arriving here in China as championship leader is something I would never have expected, not given the way winter testing went," Alonso said. "It means we have done a good job, managing to make use of all the potential at our disposal and the most of every opportunity."

He added: "Since I first arrived in Maranello at the start of 2010, I have seen the team grow a lot in all areas relating to track activity, from strategy to the work in the garage and at the pit stops.

"I know I can count on a very strong group, which is very important, and there is a great sense of purpose shared by all.

"We know our car is not at the level we had wanted going into this season, but everyone is reacting very well, is very united, which is what you get with a real team that wants to reach its objectives."

However, despite the recent two-week break, Alonso is not expecting an about-turn in the car's performance. Instead, his task and that of the team this weekend will again be one of damage limitation as they work towards making the car a genuine championship contender.

"I'm not expecting any surprises in this race compared to what we saw in Australia and Malaysia," Alonso added on the team's official website.

"It's true almost three weeks have gone by, but that does not mean there was enough time to completely turn the car around in such a short time.

"We will have a few small updates, nothing particularly significant, and on top of that we can expect the other teams will also bring some new parts. Therefore, we won't change our approach to this grand prix. To get a good result we will need to concentrate on ourselves, trying to be perfect and to exploit every possibility that might come our way over the weekend."