Lewis Hamilton believes that it will be hard to even reach the top 10 in the Belgian Grand Prix starting from the last row of the grid on Sunday.
The reigning champion says that the race will be much tougher than the Chinese Grand Prix, where he started from the back and finished seventh, because the high pressures mandated by Pirelli make it hard to keep the tires alive over a stint.
"It's completely different to China," said Hamilton. "In China we didn't have [tire] failures the previous year, and therefore they didn't put the pressure up to a ridiculous number.
"That is the case here. They had failures last year, they're nervous of failures this year, so they put the pressures up to 23 or 24 whatever it is, which is so high, I've never seen pressures like that in my whole racing career. That doesn't help.
"Plus it's very hot, and being at those pressures, we get blisters. In China the tires went a lot longer, it was cooler, and the tires behave more normally.
"Here there's not really much you can do to stop the tires from blistering and overheating. Tomorrow is going to be interesting with that, so it's definitely a much harder race than China ever was."
Hamilton said one of the big problems will be running in traffic.
"As I said before its going to be a very, very hard race. If I had a choice of tracks to start dead last and overtake, this is definitely not in the top three for me in terms of an overtaking circuit.
"Whilst you can have a good tow up to Eau Rouge, being this hot, it's going to be hard to follow.
"Being in the traffic it's very unlikely I'm going to get to my stop target or go longer than the guys in front of me.
"I envisage tomorrow it's even going to be hard to get into the top 10 with the tires the way they are. I hope that I prove myself wrong, and I hope that I'm pleasantly surprised."
Grid start 'my plan'
Hamilton insists that he will start from the grid rather than the pitlane, despite the obvious risk of getting involved in a first corner accident.
"I never like to start from the pitlane," said the Briton. "It means you have to wait for them to come past you in the pitlane exit.
"By the time I get round the corner they will be halfway down the hill, almost going into Eau Rouge, the last car. That means then I have to catch up.
"Of course, there's a possibilities of me crashing in Turn 1 and you avoid it, but there's also possibilities that there's not, and then I just give up seven seconds or whatever it is.
"I can't afford to lose any time. So my plan is to start from the grid."