Yeongam, 5 October – The starting grid for the Korean Grand Prix was decided in the final moments of the session. Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa were sixth and seventh fastest respectively, but they will both start from the third row, because of the grid penalty that Webber, third fastest, picked up in Singapore.
In Q1, the two Ferrari men made a first run on the Medium tyres, Alonso doing five laps and Felipe four. With three minutes remaining, the F138s went out again on Supersofts for a final lap, Fernando securing fourth place in 1.38.520 and Felipe tenth in 1.38.884.
For Massa and Alonso, qualifying at the Yeongam track ended with a single run in Q3 on the last fresh set of Supersofts. Fernando’s time was a 1.38.038, while Felipe did a 1.38.223. Pole position went tol Sebastian Vettel who did a 1.37.202 in the Red Bull.
Fernando Alonso: “I am not surprised at the outcome of this qualifying session, because in terms of pure performance, Saturday is always difficult for us and will continue to be so until the end of the season. Usually, on Sunday, things go better and our aim is always to get to the podium, as has happened in recent races. This weekend seems harder than usual, because while up until now we have always had a good race pace, both yesterday and today we suffered on the long runs and that means we must absolutely improve for tomorrow. We have a few problems with the tyres which we are unable to manage as well as the others: there’s a lot of graining and if you push very hard in the first sector you almost risk being unable to finish the lap. We will have to find the right compromise to get them to survive the number of laps proposed by our engineers, because the ideal strategy is still a two stop. Given how we look in the dry, the rain could mix things up and in fact we have nothing to lose and even if there will be little time to adapt to it, we must be ready for this eventuality”.
Pat Fry: “Today’s result reflects more or less what we had expected from before, even if we can’t claim to be happy about being unable to fight for the front rows. We are aware of what is our potential but again today, we tried to extract the maximum from the package we have available, trying to adapt the car to the track characteristics and as a function of the performance of the two types of tyre. In the first sector, we have always been competitive, but from halfway through the second one to the end of the third we have suffered, especially on the Supersoft. It wasn’t easy finding the right balance which would allow us to push to the maximum without accentuating the tyre wear, which is inevitable when you don’t have a high level of aerodynamic downforce. For tomorrow, we will have to try and manage the tyre degradation as well as possible over a long distance, especially in the first stint. Reliability and the uncertainty over the weather will be two key factors”.