One car seventh and another ninth: definitely not a result that matches Scuderia Ferrari’s expectations in qualifying for the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. After a relatively positive start to the session, there was simply nothing more the drivers could extract from their cars.
In Q3, the F2012 was not competitive enough, not just when compared to our usual rivals, but also when up against other cars that in recent races had been inferior to us in terms of performance.
“Obviously we are not happy, in fact we are very disappointed with this result. We were unable to give our drivers a car with which they could compete for the front rows of the grid, despite all our best efforts here at the track and back at the factory in Maranello. It’s true that in the race we have almost always seen that the gap to the best is reduced, but we can’t always hope for exceptional performances like the one Fernando produced last Sunday in India. However, it’s crazy to see how things have changed in just a week, with the pecking order varying from track to track by half a second. But now there’s no point crying over spilt milk: we will just roll up our sleeves and concentrate on preparing for tomorrow’s race. I often say it: the points are handed out on Sunday and the sums will be done at the end of the season. We have a duty to do our utmost in every area and there can be absolutely no doubt about that.”
“In all three free practice sessions, we were always around this position, so it would have been too optimistic to hope for more in Q3: a place between fifth and eighth was within our expectations going into the session and that’s where we are. I did almost the same time on three occasions between Q2 and Q3, which means there was nothing more to come. I am pleased with the work we have done today, because we squeezed every last drop of performance out of the car. The updates we brought here have improved our performance but the others have not been relaxing on the sofa watching television while twiddling their thumbs...Usually, Saturday is the day we suffer the most, while on Sunday things always go better: let’s hope that will also be the case this time. It’s also true that with so little tyre degradation, the strategic choices are much more limited and so too the opportunities to make up places. We know that in the three remaining races, we must score fourteen points more than Vettel and that is our one and only objective.”
“This is definitely a rather difficult and complicated weekend, at least up until tonight. We were hoping to be able to start a bit further up, at least on the front three rows of the grid. In Q3, I opted to run a different programme to my team-mate, partly because I only had one set of new Options available. Looking back, one could say that was not the best choice, but it’s always easy to be wise with hindsight. I did not have all the updates we brought here: that was definitely not great, but looking at Fernando’s result, it didn’t make a difference. On the last lap I had a bit of oversteer in one corner which cost me a few hundredths: maybe I could have been eighth but it would not have changed much. Honestly, today it would have been hard to do more than this. Let’s hope that tomorrow, thanks to a race pace that is traditionally our strong point, we can make up some places. This circuit seems to suit some cars particularly well: the McLaren was not this quick in the last three races, but here Hamilton took pole really smoothly.”
“All I can do is repeat what our boss has said: we are disappointed that we did not give our drivers a sufficiently competitive car. We had brought various updates here, some only fitted to Fernando’s car, because we do not yet have enough of them for both. Unfortunately, the whole package did not work the way we had expected before coming here, at least relative to the progress that the other teams have made. Both Felipe and Fernando did the maximum they could: unfortunately they had already reached the limit in Q2, which explains why it’s not by chance that Fernando did practically the same time three times in a row, while the others raised the bar in Q3. It’s clear that the McLarens, especially Hamilton, seem out of reach this weekend, but all the same, we were hoping to start from higher up the grid. Now we must prepare as well as possible for the race. We know we can count on a good pace and on a top speed which will allow us to overtake. We will try and make up as many places as possible and to make the most of a slightly different grid order to the one we have seen in recent races.”