It was the best Saturday of the year for Scuderia FerrariW, with one driver on the second row and the other on the third after qualifying for the race on Sunday. Fernando Alonso was third fastest in Q3, with Felipe Massa securing sixth place. The Pirelli tyre useage for the two Maranello drivers was almost identical: Soft in Q1, Soft and Supersoft in Q2 and two sets of Supersoft in Q3.
Stefano Domenicali: “We can be pleased with this qualifying session, the best out of the seven so far this season, with both our drivers in the top three rows on the grid. We are back to being in the hunt for pole and that is the most important fact. It means that all our efforts to improve the performance of the car are bearing fruit. All the more encouraging when one considers that this track actually highlights the very qualities that to date had been our weakest points, in other words traction and top speed. We have made a step forward, but it’s still not enough to be where we want. Now we will concentrate on what looks like being a very unpredictable race. This year, we have already seen that Sunday always throws up some surprises and I don’t think tomorrow will be an exception. We must try and continue to work with the same determination and the same organisation that, especially with Fernando, has allowed us to get the very most out of our potential in the very early part of the season.”
Fernando AlonsoW: “I am happy with the way things have gone so far this weekend, especially because the car has proved to be competitive, even on a track which certainly does not suit its characteristics. That is mainly down to the updates we have brought here, which have worked as we expected, which makes me confident for the rest of the season too. I well remember where we were in Australia and if today we are in the fight for pole, it signifies that we have done a good job over the past few months, especially as the others have not exactly been twiddling their thumbs. I am also pleased for Felipe, who is confirming the progress we already saw in recent races: at the start of the championship he was definitely unlucky, but we have always stayed united and now the results are coming, as indeed they should for a driver of his talent. Having said all that, we must not forget that today there are two drivers who were quicker than us, therefore there is still some ground to make up in performance terms, although finally we seem to be able to fight on level terms with the best. It was a rather stressful qualifying because here the times are always very close and it only takes a few tenths of a difference to be in front or down the back. Third on the starting grid is a good position from which to attack in the race, especially as pole is not so important here as elsewhere. Tyre degradation will be one of the key factors on Sunday, given the temperatures will be very different to what we saw yesterday afternoon. Races here are always unpredictable, but for sure it would be very nice to give all the Canadian Ferrari fans a nice result in the thirtieth anniversary year of the death of Gilles Villeneuve. Italy-Spain in the European football? We haven’t spoken about it yet with the team but, if we win, then maybe I might find there are not too many people on hand to change my tyres at the pit stop….!”
Felipe MassaW: “I am pleased with the progress made this weekend: starting from sixth is a positive result. However, I can’t be happy with my last lap in Q3: in the second sector, I lost the rear end and that cost me a few tenths and that quite probably meant a few places on the grid. I’m very disappointed because I had the potential to do better than this sixth place. All things considered, I remain confident, because the whole team is moving forward which is very important for the rest of the season. Tomorrow, we will have to pay great attention when it comes to defining our strategy. I think the choice is restricted to just a one or a two stop, but a lot depends on tyre behaviour. We hope to make up some places and bring home a good result. On my helmet I have the name Gilles Villeneuve as a tribute to the memory of a driver who was part of Ferrari history: I am very proud of being able to pay homage to him in the year that marks the thirtieth anniversary of his death. Even if I was only just born when the accident happened, I have always been a big fan of his.”
Published with permission from Beyond the Red Line.