Qualifying lives up to expectations
At the end of a very closely contested qualifying session, the two Scuderia Ferrari drivers set the fourth and sixth fastest times, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa respectively. Both Ferrari men followed an identical programme through the three sessions: one run in Q1 on the Medium tyres, one in Q2 on the Soft and two in Q3 with the two remaining sets of Softs.
“Fourth place is possibly my most common result in qualifying this season, so I definitely cannot be surprised at this performance. Usually, in the race we go better than in qualifying, therefore this grid position could provide the basis for a podium finish, which is our realistic target for tomorrow afternoon. Fighting for the win? I think it will be very difficult, even if this year’s races have often thrown up surprises.
I will try to make up some places at the start, which could make the race even more interesting. It was not easy to find the right balance on the car this weekend. We made a lot of changes to the set-up after each session and again this morning we were not satisfied. Then unexpectedly, in qualifying, the car improved and was more stable under braking and easier to drive, to the extent that we were always in the top four or five positions in each session. Clearly the higher temperatures helped, otherwise we would not be just a few hundredths off the McLarens, after being over two seconds away in Spa qualifying. We hope it will be equally hot tomorrow: it would be great to get a result to delight all our fans who will be in the grandstands.”
“All things considered, it was a good qualifying, though definitely not an easy one, because we knew there were some very quick cars out there. The result is pretty much in line with our expectations going into the session. We worked well, trying to fine tune the car in one session after the next.
In Q3, on my final run, I had got a good tow behind Michael, but then, I pushed a bit too much and lost precious time at the second chicane and the Lesmo corner. Maybe I could have been one or two places further up, but definitely nothing more than that. Tomorrow, I expect the race will be very close and difficult and rear tyre degradation will be one of the key factors. As usual, strategy will be decisive and I hope I can do well. This is a very important event for Ferrari and we are keen to give our fans something to cheer about. The target? A place on the podium, but I know it will be very difficult.”
"First and foremost, congratulations to Sebastian who produced an incredibile pole lap: how lucky this is a track where they were not considered to be the favourites… We tried to do our best, aware that we did not have the best car. The team worked very well throughout the session, trying to get the most out of the package at our disposal. Obviously, we are keen to do well at our home race: our plan is to tackle it in attacking style. So far this has been a very busy weekend, from every point of view, but we know the key moment is yet to come."
If you work for Ferrari, you cannot be pleased with a fourth and a sixth place in qualifying
“If you work for Ferrari, you cannot be pleased with a fourth and a sixth place in qualifying, but we also need to be realistic about what we are currently capable of doing. We worked very hard on the car over the past two days and I think we managed to improve its performance significantly from one session to the next: I think the qualifying result confirms that, given where we started from yesterday morning. Clearly, the higher temperatures gave us a helping hand, especially when it came to getting the Mediums to work better, which can be seen from the fact that we have never been so close to McLaren and Red Bull in Q1 as we were today.
The two drivers also did a very good job, always attacking to find the limit. Tomorrow’s race will be very close. From the strategy point of view it will be interesting to see by how much the first stint can be extended to work out how many stops to make. The temperature will be another important factor, especially as regards tyre degradation. The start will also be a “hot” time, as indeed is always the case here at Monza.”