Ferrari's Felipe Massa qualified in 6th and Fernando Alonso in 7th place on the grid for the Singapore GP. Both drivers were happy with the progress made overnight, but it obviously was enough to fight with the front runners.
Fernando Alonso, 7th: “Today’s result isn’t surprising, because from the start of the season, on average we have always started from between sixth and eighth place and then made up ground in the race, which we will try and do again tomorrow. The updates brought to this race have gained us a tenth of a second on our competitors, a result which matches our expectations. Even if the gap to the leader is still significant and the improvement might not be that evident, we cannot say our engineers have not put in the effort, because everyone has done a super job. Expectations for tomorrow are still high, even if in the meantime, our rivals have not wasted their time and along with other teams like Mercedes and Lotus have made a further step forward. Faced with this, we must be realistic and try to make the most of any errors they might make. I think the podium can be within our grasp tomorrow, if we have a perfect race and make the best choices in terms of strategy, tyres and the right number of stops. Here in Singapore, in five years there has always been a safety car and for that reason, here more than anywhere else, luck can make the difference”.
Felipe Massa, 6th: “Having struggled so much yesterday and in the third free practice session, today in qualifying, we finally managed to put together a good lap, completely changing the set-up on the car. Certainly the gap to the quickest cars is still big, but today, doing a time that is close to that of the Red Bulls or Mercedes was really difficult, partly because they have not suffered as much as us from a lack of grip and because we find ourselves on a high downforce circuit. I am expecting a difficult race because anything can happen here and tyre degradation is particularly high, even if I hope we have a good race pace and can be competitive. It’s tomorrow’s race that counts and we will do our utmost to improve our position in the Championship. My effort over the next seven races will be the maximum, because I would like to end my time with Ferrari in the best way possible”.
Pat Fry, Director of Engineering: “Today we managed to improve both cars, finding the right compromise between performance over a single lap and also on a long run. Even if this was not enough to put our drivers on equal terms with those in the top places, we worked well as a team to extract the most from the package we had available to us. There were definitely some external factors that didn’t do us any favours, such as the stop-start nature of the track and the lack of grip that seemed to affect us more than our rivals. Here, only those with the best traction manage to be comfortable when tackling the numerous chicanes and that explains the difference in performance between us and the cars at the front and the size of the gaps compared to those at Monza. Historically in Singapore, there is an almost hundred percent chance of seeing the race neutralised and this year too, we will have to be ready in case the Safety Car comes into play. In some instances this could be a help, in others it can destroy your race and so we need to think about having a flexible strategy. Here, reliability also plays a very important role, because the high temperatures put the cars under a lot of strain, also from a mechanical point of view. Ahead of us we now face one of the most difficult Grands Prix of the year and many variables could affect the outcome: we will try and push to the maximum, making the most of any opportunity”.