Abu Dhabi GP: Ferrari qualifying report

Qualifying session G. Fisichella: 20th 1.42.184 12 laps K. Raikkonen: 11th 1.40.726 8 laps Chassis: G. Fisichella 280, K. Raikkonen 279 Weather: air temperature 30/29 C, track temperature 35/31 C. Definitely a difficult qualifying for...

Qualifying session
G. Fisichella: 20th 1.42.184 12 laps
K. Raikkonen: 11th 1.40.726 8 laps

Chassis: G. Fisichella 280, K. Raikkonen 279

Weather: air temperature 30/29 C, track temperature 35/31 C.

Definitely a difficult qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro. Only one of its drivers, Kimi Raikkonen, making it through to the second session and he then just missed out on the cut for the final shoot-out by a few hundredths. The final result sees Kimi in eleventh place and Giancarlo Fisichella in twentieth. "We knew it would be a very difficult session for us and so it turned out to be," said Stefano Domenicali. "Actually, we could not have expected much more, as we are well aware of our situation and we just have to try and make the best of what we have got. Once again, Kimi did a good job, giving his best on every occasion. It would be nice to end such a difficult year in a good way, which would mean securing our goal of third place in the Constructors' classification, but tomorrow, we will be facing a steep climb all through the race. The situation is further complicated by the grid positions of our main opponents. All the same, the race still has to be run and in this sport, we have seen so often that nothing can be taken for granted. What we can be sure of is that we will give it our all."

Kimi Raikkonen: "Today we got the most out of the car, but we did not have the necessary performance to make it into Q3. Already yesterday, we realized that it would be tough, so this result is definitely not a surprise. Tomorrow, we will try to do our best, but it's certainly not going to be an easy race, even though we should definitely be more competitive in the race than in qualifying. What I can say is that eleventh place is better than tenth, given that I will start from the clean side of the track and can choose the ideal fuel load. It will be hard to get third in the Constructors', because the McLaren is very competitive. We will have to try and get some points and hope for a bit of luck."

Giancarlo Fisichella: "We knew it would be tough, but I don't think we could have expected much more. In the first and second sectors I was reasonably competitive, but in the final one I had a lot of understeer. Tomorrow will be hard, but I know I can manage a strong pace: we will do our best to get a good result. I am disappointed not to have been able to do better in these races with Ferrari as it would be nice to reward the team that has had trust in me, by bringing them some points. It has not been easy adapting my driving style to a car that is particularly difficult to drive and at a time when, more and more, it felt the effects of the ending of its development programme."

Chris Dyer: "Obviously, we are disappointed with this result, in both Giancarlo's and Kimi's case. The behaviour of the tyres was rather unusual, with the harder compound turning out to be the quickest. With Kimi, we used both types of tyre in Q1 to try and understand the situation, while with Giancarlo, we concentrated on the softs: unfortunately, we saw that the drivers who did not get to Q2 were precisely those who had done their best time on this tyre. In the second part of qualifying, Kimi did his best, but failed to make the cut to Q3 by a very small margin. We didn't have enough speed to do it, which we need to do something about. I think we will witness an interesting race: the performance of the tyres will evolve still further and I think Kimi can possibly get a good result."

Abu Dhabi GP - No light in the dark

Yas Marina, 31 October 2009 -- There was no light in the dark skies over the floodlit track for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro in today's final qualifying session of the season: Kimi Raikkonen only got as far as Q2 and will start from eleventh place on the grid on row 6 and Giancarlo Fisichella was left stranded in Q1, setting the slowest time and lines up at the back of the grid. Trying to look on the bright side, Kimi at least said eleventh was better than tenth in that he will start tomorrow evening's race from the clean side of the track. Being outside the top ten also means a driver can choose his fuel load to best suit his strategy, rather than start with the weight in the car at the end of Q3.

Tyres have been one of the main talking points this season and again today, they played their part in qualifying. Usually, the softer of the two types of tyre that Bridgestone bring to each race is the ideal choice for qualifying, offering better performance over the first flying lap. However, here in Abu Dhabi, not only did the harder tyre seem to be quicker, but both types of tyre were not usually at their best on that first lap, needing to go longer to be at their optimum.

It's been something of a Maranello Mantra since it became clear that two teams were dominating the field, that third place in the Constructors' Championship was the target for this season. At the last race, Ferrari has slipped down to fourth, one point behind McLaren-Mercedes. The job of overtaking the Anglo-German team got considerably harder this evening, as their driver Lewis Hamilton, who has been on sparkling form all weekend, took a convincing pole position, although Kovalainen is down in thirteenth spot. Alongside the reigning world champion on the front row of the grid will be Sebastian Vettel in the Red Bull, with team-mate Mark Webber third. Then come the two Championship winning Brawns, with Rubens Barrichello fourth ahead of Jenson Button, who shares the third row with the Toyota of Jarno Trulli.

For both our drivers and the crew in the garage, it will be an emotional end to what has been a very difficult season: Kimi is leaving and Giancarlo Fisichella takes up his new position as third driver for the Scuderia. The team's 2010 drivers are both here of course, Fernando Alonso starting from sixteenth in the Renault and Felipe Massa watching from the sidelines.

-credit: ferrari

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Lewis Hamilton , Felipe Massa , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren