One of the worst qualifying sessions of the season for Scuderia Ferrari, with Felipe Massa fourth and Fernando Alonso eighth. The session began on a wet track and the two drivers used one set of intermediates each in Q1 and two in Q2. Then, in Q3 conditions allowed for the use of dry tyres and both Felipe and Fernando opted for the Soft.
Stefano Domenicali: “We are definitely disappointed with a result that does not match our expectations. We managed to get through the first two sessions in the wet in one piece but then, onc we switched to the dry tyres, the chronic problem that has characterised our season was clear to see, even more so here than elsewhere, namely the difficult in getting the tyres to work well in low temperatures and on a damp track. On top of that, there was traffic to contend with, which created further problems for Fernando, who was definitely penalised by it. Tomorrow’s race should take place in the dry and I think that for everyone, this will be a little bit of a step into the unknown, because it has not been possible to gather much data on the tyre degradation. We will try to reaffirm the positive aspects of our season, which means the characteristic of having a better pace in the race than in qualifying. I am convinced that we are still in with a good chance of bringing home a good result.”
Felipe Massa: “At the start of the session, when the rain came down, if I had been offered a fourth place, I would have signed for it on the spot. My result isn’t bad, even if the cars ahead of me have shown a much quicker pace. However, it’s true that conditions in Q3 were the worst possible for us: we could not get the best grip level right from the start, because we struggled a lot to get the tyres up to temperature. I think that tomorrow, if we have a dry track, we could be more competitive and I hope to be fighting with the drivers who are ahead of me today. It’s difficult to make predictions, because we don’t have much data on tyre degradation, but I think we will see two or three stops. Starting from the dirty side of the track again? True, but it’s not as much of a disadvantage here as it was in Budapest and so I think I can have a normal start.”Fernando Alonso: “Eighth is definitely not a good result, but we have to accept it and try to make up for this bad qualifying in tomorrow’s race. I am confident because I know the car’s true potential is definitely better than this position. We did a good job of managing Q1 and Q2, even if the red flag in the second part put us under a bit of pressure because there were only seven minutes left and at that time I was not through to Q3. In the dry I don’t think I could have fought for pole position, but I could have been at least on the front two rows. Unfortunately, I hardly ever managed to get a clean lap because on both my second and third laps I found Perez ahead of me and on the last one I had to slow at the entrance to the chicane to let Webber pass, otherwise I might have been penalised. That’s how it was, but definitely there is a sense of regret, as I could have got a better place. No one is really sure what the relative strengths are down the field: all weekend long we have seen very big gaps of seconds not tenths, depending on when the cars were out on track and also, we don’t have an idea about tyre degradation. We will see what happens: I am voting for a dry race and we will do all we can to get on the podium.”
Pat Fry: “We are disappointed both with the places from which our drivers will line up on the grid and with the gap to the quickest. It’s true that in Q3 we encountered the conditions least suited to us: a damp but drying track, with rather low temperatures. We have already seen this before: in similar situations we lose a lot compared to the other top teams, because we cannot get the tyres up to temperature. It is our car’s Achilles Heel and we still haven’t fixed it and today it caused us even more of a problem than we could have expected. We should not use it as an excuse, but as a further impetus to solve the problem. The team worked very well during the session, especially in the first part, when it was important to manage operations and the strategy as well as possible with track conditions changing all the time. Tomorrow’s race should be very interesting: no one can say for certain how the tyres will work in the dry, especially in terms of degradation and tomorrow no rain is forecast for the early afternoon. On Sunday, we will try and make up the ground we have lost on Saturday.”