Raikkonen: 5th. 1.20.168, 9 laps Massa: 20th. 1.40.703, 3 laps Chassis: G. Fisichella 280, K. Raikkonen 279 Weather: air temperature 17 C, track temperature 18 C. Mixed feelings for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the end of the longest ...
Raikkonen: 5th. 1.20.168, 9 laps
Massa: 20th. 1.40.703, 3 laps
Chassis: G. Fisichella 280, K. Raikkonen 279
Weather: air temperature 17 C, track temperature 18 C.
Mixed feelings for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro at the end of the longest ever Formula 1 qualifying session. On the one hand, there is satisfaction at Kimi Raikkonen securing fifth place at the end of a very good session, while on the other there is regret for what happened with Giancarlo Fisichella, who was left stuck out on track at the start of Q1, when the track conditions were almost impossible to deal with. "Tomorrow we face a race that will be very important in the battle for third place and it's a shame we will not be tackling it with both our cars in the top half of the grid, given that our main rivals are quite a way back. However, we also have to keep an eye on Toyota who are not too far behind in the classification."
Giancarlo Fisichella: "When qualifying started the conditions were almost impossible. I ended up spinning even though I wasn't going that quickly, but I was at a point where the track was flooded. As I turned the wheel, I hit the engine cut-out switch and that was my qualifying over with. A shame, because the car goes well in the wet, as could be seen from Kimi's performance. I hope he manages to bring home a good number of points, but for me that will be tough as I'm starting from the back row. At the moment, everything seems to be going wrong: I am very unhappy, because I so much want to show my worth in a major team like Ferrari. I hope that, starting tomorrow, some luck comes my way, as it has not done so far."
Kimi Raikkonen: "Overall, I'm pleased with this result. On the extreme wet tyres, we were very competitive and I actually think that if the conditions had stayed bad enough for these tyres, I could have done better than fifth place. However, on the intermediate tyres the car was no longer as easy to drive, because it is harder to get them working at their best. If it rains tomorrow, it will be very tough, because here, you see almost nothing if you are behind another car and the conditions become really difficult. I think that today, it was the right decision to delay qualifying: at least it meant we were able to drive in acceptable conditions, rather than just trying to stay on the track. The F60 worked well: we know we lack grip, but this is the problem we have carried with us since the start of the season."
Chris Dyer: "A bitter sweet qualifying for us. Once again, Kimi produced a fantastic performance to take a good fifth place, while Giancarlo, having felt comfortable in the wet this morning, was unfortunate in that his spin occurred when track conditions were at their worst. We have gone for a strategy choice that should allow us to have a good race whatever the weather. Well done to the team who remained concentrated throughout the entire qualifying session."
The longest day
Today's qualifying session was the longest in the history of Formula 1, as red flags and Race Control decisions to delay it at times, to wait for safer track conditions meant it ended at around 16.45, two and three quarter hours after it began. The rain was at its worst in Q1 and conditions meant cars were aquaplaning down the straights and losing control in the corners. Unfortunately, one of the victims was Giancarlo Fisichella, who was left stranded out on track. He lost control on the treacherously wet surface and in his attempt to control the spin, accidentally hit the engine cut out switch. So, although his car was undamaged, his session was over and he starts on the back row in twentieth place.
Kimi Raikkonen however, produced another great drive, given the overall competitivity of the F60 compared to the quicker cars in the field, to make it through to Q3, securing fifth place on the third row of the grid. Maintaining concentration, staying calm and adapting to the changeable conditions -- the track gradually started drying out towards the end -- were the key factors for the Finnish driver and the Scuderia crew in the garage.
Only in Q3 did conditions improve enough for the top ten cars to fight it out using Bridgestone's Intermediate tyres. Actually, Kimi would have preferred a bit more rain, as he felt more comfortable running the Extreme wets. There was no need to look at the timing screens to see who had set the fastest time, as the information came from the crowd, as local favourite, Rubens Barrichello gave his fellow Paulistas a great reward for sitting in the pouring rain for so long. Lining up alongside him on the front row tomorrow, will be Mark Webber in the Red Bull. A last minute charge saw Adrian Sutil secure third place for Force India, just ahead of the Toyota of Jarno Trulli. There are two Ferrari engines on row three, as Kimi shares it with the Ferrari-powered Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi.
Tomorrow, Kimi will be targeting a good haul of points, as Ferrari attempts to maintain its third place in the Constructors' classification. That task will be helped by the fact that closest rivals, McLaren did not have the best of days, with Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton qualifying down in 18th and 19th places.