Fernando and Felipe a whisker off pole. Montreal delivers best qualifying of the year
This was the best qualifying of the season so far for Scuderia Ferrari, which means Fernando Alonso will start the Canadian Grand Prix from the front row with Felipe Massa in third place. So far, the two 150º Italias have been in the top four in every session of this Canadian weekend and the aim is to continue in that vein tomorrow.
“It’s been a long time – since Singapore 2010 in fact – that I was last on the front row and I am pleased that Felipe is also right up close to me on the starting grid. It means the whole team has worked well, at the track and back home on trying to improve our car performance. It was important to show we can be competitive and we managed it. In Q3, we had some doubts about strategy – whether it would be better to do just a single lap at the start and then three or split the runs equally – but it’s hard to say which would really have been the best choice.
Clearly, on a track like this, where aerodynamic downforce is not as important as elsewhere, our deficiencies are a bit masked but it’s equally true that the updates we brought here worked as we had expected and that’s important for the rest of the championship, because we want to be fighting for the top places. It could rain tomorrow, which would make the race even more chaotic than usual: we must be ready to make the most of any opportunity. We will try to put the Red Bulls under pressure, right from the start, but we know McLaren will also be very strong, especially as their rear wing is possibly better adapted to the conditions in the case of a wet track.”
“It’s been a great weekend so far: we have always been competitive and finally we will be able to start from a good grid position. Tomorrow, the weather could be different and therefore we must be ready to tackle any eventuality. I have been happy with the way the car is handling right from yesterday and I am very confident for the race. The team is working well and we really hope we can put an end to this run of negative results. The fact the gap to the Red Bull is smaller here is encouraging, also for the future. We know that at this track, the race is very difficult, but also, from what we have seen so far, our car is more competitive in the race than in qualifying.
I expect McLaren will be very strong tomorrow as will be the Red Bulls obviously. A podium would be a great result, fighting for the win would be even better. What will happen if it rains? That’s a good question, because this year we have never had a real opportunity to run in the wet. On top of that, at this track, the slightest slip up carries a very high price, therefore it’s important to be very careful.”
“For the first time this year we managed to fight for the very top places on the grid, right down to the final second and, for once, the gap to pole position is reasonable. It’s our best qualifying of the season and it’s great to have both cars on the front two rows, one of them with a clear view of the track ahead: this result is encouraging, because it means that our efforts are taking us in the right direction.
It’s our best qualifying of the season
Definitely, at the moment, our car is better suited to the characteristics of the “Gilles Villeneuve” circuit than it is to the one at Montmelò, but it’s no coincidence that we have been competitive right from the start of the weekend. Now however, we must concentrate on preparing for a race that looks like being very unpredictable. Historically, Canada produces an action packed Grand Prix, with the Safety Car usually required on track and lots of overtaking opportunities: if you add to this scenario the unknown factor concerning the weather, then it’s clear why tomorrow’s 70 laps will seem very, very long for everyone.”
We are pleased with this result, the best since the championship began. The credit for that goes to everyone: the drivers who did not make any driving errors on an unforgiving track, the team that prepared the cars with great care and everyone at Maranello who worked with alacrity to make up the performance gap that separates us from the best. However, we have yet to bring home any points from this Grand Prix, so we must stay completely focussed on preparations for tomorrow’s race, which will be long and unpredictable. The rain could play a part and we will have to be ready to react in the right way to any eventuality. On behalf of the whole team, my thoughts go out to Marco Oliva, one of our mechanics who was injured during a pit stop today: these things can happen in our sport and we hope Marco gets better very soon.”