Qualifying definitely did not live up to expectations for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, which will see its cars line up in fifth and ninth places on the starting grid for the Brazilian Grand Prix, with Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa respectively.
“We knew that with the forecast weather conditions for today, this would be an especially complicated qualifying session and that was indeed the case. A shame, as this result does not reflect our aspirations or our potential, but putting this disappointment to one side, we have to keep in mind that the points are given out on Sunday, which is something we have said after a good qualifying and which bears repeating today. Our closest rivals are there ahead of us and we will stick to them. We will have to try and run a judicious race and pick up as many points as possible, banking on a race pace which, from what we saw yesterday, is competitive with the best. So many times this year the outcome of qualifying has been turned on its head in the race which is often played out to a different tune. We have to concentrate: reliability, strategy, the work in the garage and on track will, as always, hold the key. Finally, I want to congratulate Nico Hulkenberg, a youngster who has just taken the first pole of his Formula 1 career and his Williams team.”
“Conditions today were certainly not easy and the track was changing all the time. In the wet, with intermediates, I was able to do reasonably good times, but when we fitted the soft slicks and the track was still damp, I immediately felt a lack of grip which in the end affected my performance. In fact, all season I have struggled to get my tyres up to temperature and the damp track definitely did not help. A shame, as I was unable to fight for the top places as I had hoped in order to give the Brazilian fans a good result. It is always exciting racing here in front of this fantastic crowd. The race should be run in the dry, which means with very different track conditions to this afternoon. Yesterday, Fernando was very quick over a long run and I think we will be able to make up some places. Congratulations to Nico on his first pole: I can well believe he is in seventh heaven.”
Fernando Alonso:“Fifth place is not the end of the world. Many times this year, the two Red Bulls have been out in front and Hamilton’s McLaren has been in the fight with us for third place. Today, the surprise came from Hulkenberg, the only one to do a clean lap in Q3: everyone else, myself included, was not as clever, also because the dry line was really narrow and you only needed to get the tyres ten centimetres outside it and you lost a lot of time. There’s a lot to lose in these conditions and little to gain: it would have just needed one wrong choice to already be out of it before the final part of qualifying. Tomorrow in the race, we will have to try and make the most of our strong points, especially our race pace. If we can do a good job of managing the tyres maybe towards the end we can have the edge. The start will also be important: we will try and make up some places, while keeping an eye on what our rivals are doing, because it will be a crucial moment for them too. From a strategic point of view, clearly the presence of Hulkenberg on pole introduces an unexpected variation. The main aim this weekend is to increase my lead over Webber to arrive in Abu Dhabi in as calm a frame of mind as possible. If that’s not possible, then it will be a case of damage limitation.”
“This result leaves a slightly bitter taste in the mouth because we had the potential to do better, but we knew that in these conditions anything could happen. We had been expecting it since yesterday: the wet track should have been an opportunity to close the gap to the Red Bulls who, on a first flying lap in the dry seemed quicker. But it could also have been a risk because there was always the chance of finishing much further back on the grid. At the end, everyone fitted slicks and it was very difficult to put together the perfect lap: only Hulkenberg managed it. Tomorrow, the race should be run in the dry and yesterday, we saw that our pace over a long run is not bad. Our main rivals are all ahead of us on the grid and we will try and make up some places, both with Felipe and Fernando, although without taking any excessive risks.”