Raikkonen gets the most out of Japanese qualifying
One car on the fourth row and the other on the eighth: that was the outcome of qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, whose drivers set the eighth and sixteenth times, with Kimi Raikkonen and Giancarlo Fisichella respectively, at the end of a session that featured several interruptions.
“We have to be realistic and recognise that this reflects our actual performance level,” said Stefano Domenicali. “Kimi produced another great showing, getting the most out of a car that, partly due to our strategy regarding next year, is definitely not among the quickest. There’s also a slight feeling of regret that, but for a few hundredths of a second in Q3, he might have been able to start from a bit further forward. A shame for Giancarlo who, despite the improvement he showed today, just missed out on going into Q2, which he would have deserved. Tomorrow’s race will be very long and tough. Kimi starts with a good fuel load on board and, also thanks to the KERS at the start, should be able to end up with a good result. It will be harder for Giancarlo, given his grid position, but you never know what can happen in the race.”
Giancarlo Fisichella: “I am very disappointed not to have made it through to Q2. We only had this morning’s free practice to prepare the car in the dry, but I think all the same, I improved my performance level, growing ever more confident in the F60. On my final timed lap, I made a mistake which probably cost me the time I needed to get into the next part. Tomorrow, the aim is to get into the points: I know it will be very difficult, starting from the eighth row, but with a good strategy, maybe I can do it.”
Kimi Raikkonen: “I don’t think we could have expected much more today. We know what our potential is and we have to accept that. Here, the situation is definitely better than in Singapore, but we continue to struggle, especially with a lack of aerodynamic downforce, which makes itself felt especially in the first sector. Overall, the car is working well and it’s nice to drive on such a demanding track as this, where the slightest error is heavily punished, as we saw today. It’s a shame I didn’t have new soft tyres for Q3, but we had to use them earlier to avoid being knocked out: all in all it was a good qualifying. Tomorrow, we will try and have a good race: it will be difficult to fight for the top spots, but we will try and we can count on having a good strategy.”
Chris Dyer: “A really close fought qualifying. Another great performance from Kimi, at every stage of the session. It’s a shame that, for just a few hundredths in Q3, he could have got a better grid position. We were the only ones to get to the final part without any new soft tyres, as we didn’t want to take any risks in Q1, but we are happy with how things went all the same, partly because we have a lot of fuel on board and think we have a good strategy for tomorrow’s race. It’s a bit disappointing for Giancarlo who missed out on Q2 by a whisker: he is improving day by day and we are sure that tomorrow, he will make another step forward and therefore have a good race.”
Raikkonen: 8° 1.32.980, 7 Laps
Fisichella: 16° 1.31.704, 11 Laps