Ferrari a little behind Red Bull pace in Melbourne qualifying


After starting from third in Bahrain and going onto win, Fernando Alonso will hope he can repeat the feat in Australia has he starts the race behind the two Red Bull cars of Vettel and Webber.

Felipe Massa will start in fifth place, a row behind his Spanish teammate.

Stefano Domenicalli, Ferrari team principal, spoke positively of his drivers performance, and emphasised the need for the team to score consistent points this season. “We are satisfied with this result,” Domenicali said. “We knew the Red Bulls were very quick, but we are not far off them. Fernando really drove a great qualifying, getting the most out of the car. Felipe struggled a bit to get the tyres working properly, but all the same he managed to get a good place.

“Tomorrow's race looks like being very unpredictable. Traditionally at this track, the safety-car very often plays its part and I don't think tomorrow's race will be an exception to this rule. We will therefore need to be ready to deal with any eventuality. Furthermore, there is a question mark over the weather. For our part, we will try and bring home the best result we can: in a long and closely contested championship like this one, the key is to always score points.”

Fernando Alonso is resigned to the fact that the Red Bulls are faster than his Ferrari, but is confident he can manage at least a podium finish. “I am pleased with the way qualifying went. You always want to be on pole, but third place is still a good result. We knew the Red Bulls were very strong, but we are close to them and can count on having a good race pace. Our aim is to get to the finish, not making any mistakes and getting a good result, maybe making it to the podium. Of course I want to fight for the win but it is not worth taking risks as it is too important to bring home points. After yesterday's free practice, we were not worried because we knew our work had only focussed on being ready for Sunday's race. Anything can happen here and we must be ready for any eventuality.”

Felipe Massa with his grid position, blaming the cooling track in qualifying for his lack of grip. “Not the qualifying I was expecting, going into this Grand Prix. Ever since the temperature dropped, I have always struggled to find the best way of getting the tyres up to temperature, while yesterday morning for example, when it was hotter, the situation was much better. With today's temperatures, I had no grip, which is not particularly encouraging. Let's hope it's a bit warmer tomorrow.

“In FP3 I really found it difficult, but come the end of qualifying I still managed to get a reasonable result. It's definitely not ideal in terms of looking for a win, but all the same, I will try and bring home a good number of points. This race is very tough, partly because, as we have often seen in the past, anything can happen here.”

Chris Dyer said that third and fifth on the grid was about the best the team could have expected given Red Bull’s performance advantage. He also thinks that rain may play a part in tomorrow’s race. “We are quite pleased with this result, given that we came pretty close to getting the most out of the potential of our package. We still lack a little bit of performance to be ahead of the two Red Bulls, but nevertheless, we are in a good position for tomorrow's race. After the difficulty in the last free practice session, Felipe did a good job in qualifying, managing to get a good position on the grid. Both cars will be starting from the clean side of the track, which could be an advantage.

“At the moment, the weather forecast for tomorrow is dry for the race, but we saw both yesterday and today that there is real chance of short showers. We must therefore be ready to deal with this eventuality, as well as making the most of any opportunities that might arise during a race that traditionally seems plenty of action.”