Ferrari: We are a bit disappointed
24 September, 2011
Sep.24 (Ferrari) The two Ferrari 150º Italias will start the Singapore Grand Prix from the third row: that was the outcome of tonight’s qualifying session under the artificial lights illuminating the Marina Bay circuit. Predictably, it was a very closely contested session. Fernando used one set of Softs in Q1, one Supersoft in Q2 and two of that same compound in Q3, following the plan set out prior to the session. Felipe’s qualifying was a bit more complicated: after using one set of Softs in Q1, he had to abort his first flying lap in Q2 because of the red flags following Kobayashi’s accident. The Brazilian got through to Q3, using the same set of Supersofts and then used a further two in Q3.
Stefano Domenicali: “This qualifying mirrors the championship. There is one driver and car combination that is all but untouchable and then four drivers who are fighting it out to the nearest hundredth of a second, the same four who can be found battling for second place in the classification. Clearly, we are a bit disappointed today because in fact, Fernando came very close to getting a slot on the front row, but we are well aware that one must accept the reality of the situation, without beating ourselves up about it. Felipe got the job done, extricating himself from a couple of complicated moments and getting the grid position that one could have expected. Now we must concentrate on tomorrow night’s race, which will be extremely long and tough, both for the drivers and the cars. We will try and do our best, exploiting every opportunity that comes our way.”
Fernando Alonso: “I am pleased with this qualifying, because I think that might have been my best Q3 lap of the whole year. I gave it 120%, taking risks in some corners, but that was the only way I could hope to fight for the top places. If I’d driven a normal lap, I would have finished in the same position, but half a second off the two McLarens, rather than less than a tenth. Sure, if I was in front of Hamilton and Button, then it would be a completely different story, but that’s how it turned out and there’s no point saying we were unlucky. I am convinced that a podium finish is within our reach. Usually, we go better in the race than in qualifying and there is no reason why that should not be the case here. We will try and make up some places at the start, even if, at this track, there is not much of a run from the start line to the first corner. Then we will try and make the most of our strategy and any eventual tyre degradation levels lower than that of some our opponents. This is a very hard race for the mechanical parts of the car and the Safety Car is usually involved: we will see what happens, but, I say it again, I am confident in our chances of getting to the podium.”
Felipe Massa: “Sixth is definitely not the result we were aiming for, but we have to accept it. Now we must think about the race which definitely does not look like being an easy one: tyre degradation is significant, both on the Soft and the Supersoft and will have to be able to adapt to that as best we can. I think that, as never before, getting the strategy right will be the key to having a good race. We are definitely more competitive here than we were in Monza. Today, it was not easy putting together a perfect lap and, even if the car was much improved compared to the last free practice session, I still had a lot of oversteer, especially when the rear tyres were overheating in the second and third sectors. The incident with Hamilton? Honestly, I don’t understand why he wanted to pass at all costs: we were all in a line on our “out” lap and there was nothing to be gained from acting like that.”
Pat Fry: “Reading the results sheet, one could say it reflects the current pecking order which has characterised this season, but it’s natural that when the gaps are so close, at least among those battling for pole, there’s a hint of disappointment. All the same, Fernando did a great job, getting the maximum out of the car we gave him. If we look at the gap to pole, we can say that, returning to a high downforce track, running the softest Pirelli compounds, we are back to the situation we had seen before, for example in Germany and Hungary, while in Spa and Monza we suffered a lot more. The start will be important tomorrow, an area where we have done rather well recently: we will therefore be trying to repeat that to make up some places. Then it will be important to see how the tyres behave, which will be a decisive factor for the strategy. On this track, you cannot get anything wrong, because the slightest error and you can easily find yourself in the barriers. We can therefore expect all sorts of scenarios and we will have to be clever to exploit any opportunities that might present themselves.”