Ferrari on the pace in race. Podium hopes vanish in the end.
Eighteen points to its name for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the end of the Malaysian Grand Prix, thanks to a fifth place for Felipe Massa and a sixth for Fernando Alonso. Both drivers ran a three stop strategy, using the “Option” tyre for the first two race stints, before ending the race on the “Prime” compound. Unfortunately, a collision with Hamilton as Fernando tried to pass him, meant the Spaniard had to make an additional pit stop to change the nose. After this race, Fernando and Felipe are fifth and sixth respectively in the Drivers’ Championship, while the Scuderia is third in the Constructors’.
“We cannot be pleased with this result, because today, we had the possibility to finally leap up onto the podium. Two incidents, linked one to a reliability issue (a failure of the moveable rear wing on Fernando’s car) and one at a pit stop (a problem with the left front at Felipe’s first stop) cost us very dear. It’s a shame, because in terms of race pace the 150º Italia seemed much more competitive when compared to its qualifying performance, as we had already seen in Melbourne. Once again today one driver, Vettel, was probably uncatchable but we were capable of fighting with all the others.“
“Felipe and Fernando both drove great races: it’s up to us to give them a better car. We find ourselves in a situation where we need to be perfect to maximise our potential, given that we are lagging behind in terms of performance: we did not manage that and we must do all in our power to avoid that situation repeating itself. At the same time, we have to seriously ramp up the development of our car to make up the lost ground compared to the best. We will try and complete an analysis of the aerodynamics of the car as quickly as possible and introduce some developments as soon as we can, maybe right from the next race in China.”
“I am happy with this race: not with the result but because we were finally competitive, capable of fighting wheel to wheel for a place on the podium. This is further motivation for the forthcoming race in China. We were not lucky: if the moveable rear wing had worked all the time, I could easily have passed Hamilton down the straight, but instead we had to fight hard. He defended very well and, unfortunately, we touched: that broke my wing and I had to come back into the pits to change it, thus losing any chance of getting to the podium.”
”These things happen: today went badly for me, but another time we will have better luck. Here, the car seemed capable of managing the tyres really well which meant I could fight with the others. With the package we have today, we cannot fight for the win, but I hope that changes soon. In Shanghai, we realise we can expect another difficult weekend. We will have something new, but we don’t know how much progress it will see us make. Everyone knows that, at the moment, we just have to grit our teeth and that’s what we will do. There is still a long way to go in the championship and we must leave nothing to chance.”
“We definitely have to improve the car, but it’s equally true that our race pace is very different to our performance in qualifying. That’s a positive, but we know that grid position is nevertheless very important, so we have to move forward on this front. As for my race, it was a shame to have lost valuable seconds at my first pit stop: but for that problem, I could have fought my way to a podium place. With the soft tyres my pace was very good, less so on the hards, to such an extent that Webber, who in addition had made one more stop, managed to pass me.”
“Today we had the potential to pick up rather more than these 18 points, but we didn’t manage it, which leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth. Fernando could have made it to the podium, but the coming together with Hamilton, which led to the front wing breaking, meant he had to make an additional pit stop. Unfortunately, the Spaniard had to tackle the duel with his former team-mate at a disadvantage, as he was unable to use the DRS which failed after a few laps because of a mechanical problem.”
Felipe lost valuable position at his first pit stop because of a problem with the wheel nut
“Felipe lost valuable position at his first pit stop because of a problem with the wheel nut on the left front wheel, otherwise he too could have been fighting for a podium place. From a strategic point of view, we scheduled three stops and that proved to be correct. Today, tyre degradation was less than what we had seen on Friday afternoon. The 150º Italia showed it had a good race pace, as indeed was the case in Melbourne. We leave Malaysia aware that we have a lot of work to do to raise our performance level and there can be no doubt about that, but it is also the case that, in the race, the gaps are not as big as in qualifying.”
Weather: air 30/27 °C, track 35 °C; covered skies with few drops of rains at times.
Chassis: Alonso 288, Massa 289