Ferrari saw its drivers qualify in 6th and 9th for tomorrow United States Grand Prix. While that produced mixed feelings, the team was nonetheless happy to see slightly increased temperatures in qualifying, improving the car's behaviour.
Fernando Alonso, 6th: “I think that this was a good qualifying and, looking at the times of the cars ahead of me, I don’t think I could have done much more. Before coming here, we had thought about changing the power unit, but then we opted for one we had already used, so as not to start from the pit lane. The track surface is much better than in past years, with a lot more grip, but at the same time, there’s more tyre degradation so a two stopper is inevitable. The temperatures have dropped from yesterday to today, but I don’t think this factor, along with the expectation that the wind direction will change for tomorrow, will affect the strategy. The races are long and anything can happen, including on the reliability front, as has especially been the case this season.”
Kimi Raikkonen, 9th: “The behaviour of my car was better today than yesterday and I was reasonably happy with the balance, even if I still didn’t manage to put together a good enough lap to be higher up the grid. For some reason, we haven’t managed to fix a problem with the front end. In all sectors of the track the car tends to slide causing a lot of understeer. Unfortunately, this is a very limiting factor and not ideal. But as usual, tomorrow in the race, we will try our best to get the most out of what we have to work with. I am sure that by continuing to work, improving day by day, we will soon find a solution.”
Pat Fry, Director of Engineering: “The increase in temperature from free practice three meant that, in qualifying, it was as warm as the averages expected for tomorrow and produced an improvement in both the behaviour of the car and the performance of the tyres. Unfortunately, we struggled to get the Mediums up to temperature in Q1, while on the Softs, we were more or less where we should be on the first lap. As was the case in Sochi, tyre performance will play a key role here in Austin, even if the scenario is very different: we expect the soft compound to show quick degradation, while the harder one should allow us to run a more extended stint. However, during the race it will be very important to manage both compounds, because graining could severely affect performance. The start, reliability and pit work will be the factors on which to build our race tomorrow, as we try and gain some places.”