A very disappointing qualifying for Scuderia Ferrari, with both drivers missing the cut out of Q2 by a whisker. Fernando Alonso ended the second part of qualifying in eleventh place, just four thousandths off tenth spot, while Felipe Massa was thirteenth, 77 thousandths outside the team needed to make it through to the next round. Both drivers ran identical programmes: one set of Medium in Q1, one of Medium and one of Soft in Q2.
Luca di Montezemolo
“Just a few thousandths of a second is all it took to prevent Fernando and Felipe from making it through to Q3 and it’s a real shame, because looking at the times in the final part of qualifying and the potential of our car, we could have been in the fight for the rows right at the front. I am very disappointed, because I was hoping for something better: the positions on the starting grid definitely don’t reflect the worth of today’s Ferrari and on top of that, it has happened at a track where it is particularly difficult to overtake. Tomorrow, we will try to at least make the most of the fact we have two new sets of Softs: tyres are playing a decisive role in this championship and it’s up to us to make the best possible use of them.”
“We are disappointed and there’s no point in denying it. Q2 is the hardest part of qualifying, because this year everyone is very close and it only takes a mere nothing and you pay a very high price. And that’s what happened today to both our drivers. The positions on the start grid do not paint a complete picture of the F2012’s potential, given that with their times from Q2, Fernando would have started seventh and Felipe ninth: with a further two sets of Softs to exploit, the times would definitely have been better and I let you draw the inevitable conclusion. Now, clearly, the race will be more complicated, because starting so far back on a track with these characteristics is definitely not ideal. Now we will have to make a virtue of necessity, making the best possible use of these additional sets of tyres we now have carried over for both drivers. We will have to look very carefully at all the strategy options for tomorrow, in order to make up the places we have lost to our main rivals today.”
“When you don’t qualify for Q3, it’s obviously very sad and there’s no point hiding the fact. This result is a cold shower, because our expectations were high and the car’s potential has also increased, to the extent that in Q2, we were only three tenths off the best. It’s easy to say now that with two runs on Softs in Q2 we would have made the cut, but maybe now we would be here lamenting the fact that we did not have two for Q3: it’s always easy to judge things after the fact. However, we were not quick enough to be in the top ten in the second part of qualifying and now the race will naturally be tougher. The podium is out of reach and clearly, with Hamilton on the front row, it’s easy to expect that we will lose ground to him. However, the race will be very long and will be run in even higher temperatures than today’s, which means everyone will have to be very careful when it comes to tyre management. Let’s hope that, starting from the clean side of the track I can quickly make up a few places and then we will try to also make the most of the two sets of new Softs we have left: that’s at least a small consolation after this far from positive afternoon.”
“It’s really frustrating ending up outside Q3 by less than a tenth. It was a very close qualifying, with so many drivers very near to one another in performance terms: in Q2, we were three tenths off the fastest time and we were eliminated…A shame because the feeling from the car was very good and I always felt comfortable and capable of fighting with the best. The position does not tell the truth: today we were worth a place in the top three rows. With hindsight, it’s easy to say that if we had used two sets of Soft in Q2, we could have made the cut, but we wanted to be in the best possible shape for Q3 and Q1 had shown that we were even quick on the Medium tyre. Tomorrow, strategy will play a very important role and we have seen on several occasions – Canada being the last one – how even those who start from the back have a chance of fighting for the top places. Obviously, we are not happy today, but we know we have a good car and we still have every chance of securing a good result.”
“Of course, this is not the result we wanted nor does it reflect what we were capable of. We tried to reach Q3 in the best possible condition to fight for the front rows, which meant with two sets of new Softs available and this, with hindsight, maybe cost us something in Q2. A real shame, because we could definitely have started from a very different position on the grid. Now however, we will have to try and limit the damage, making the most of the start and our strategy, aware that tyre degradation will be the key factor, also in the light of a forecast for even higher temperatures tomorrow afternoon. Both Felipe and Fernando will have two sets of new Softs available: maybe that can be a factor in our favour. The updates we brought for this race worked as expected, while other solutions we tried here for the first time still need a bit more development work. In absolute terms, we have got a bit closer to the group of the very best, but there are so many of them.”