Ferrari, like McLaren, had an embarrassing qualifying session in Malaysia. They waited in the garage in the early stages of Q1 expecting the rain to ease, as predicted by the weather forecast. Unfortunately for the Italian team, the rain instead got worse, and their drivers had no chance of matching the lap times of the early pacesetters.
As a result, both Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa failed to get out of Q1, and will start the grand prix from 19th and 21st respectively.
The Ferrari team principal told the press of his teams reaction, and explained what went wrong. “We are very disappointed with the way qualifying went,” said Stefano Domenicali. “We made an error of judgement in trusting the weather forecast: when we went out on track the rain, rather than dying down, suddenly got even stronger. With hindsight, it is easy to say we should have gone out immediately.
“It's a real shame because all the signs were that we could have done well and now we will have to prepare for an uphill fight in the race. But there's no point in crying about things before they have even happened, because the race is not until tomorrow. And as we saw today, anything could happen. We will try and pick up as many points as possible, making the most of any opportunity that presents itself.”
Fernando Alonso was disappointed with the way qualifying unfolded, but thinks the team can score points on Sunday. “We were expecting the rain to stop and that's why we stayed in the garage longer than the others. When we went out, in fact the conditions got worse and even on the extreme wets, we were unable to improve our time. Rain might make things more spectacular, but the session just turns into a lottery. Today, it went badly for us and we found ourselves in the wrong place – the track – at the wrong time.
“However, the result of qualifying is only worth the paper on which it is written, because the points are assigned at the end of the race. Of course, starting from the back puts us in a difficult position but, as we saw last Sunday in Melbourne, anything can happen and we have to trust in our abilities. We must do our best to bring home a points finish.”
Felipe Massa had similar sentiments to his teammate. “We are very sorry about what happened. We waited a bit before going out, because it was raining hard and the forecast was for an improvement, however we found ourselves out on track where there was more water than predicted. We made a mistake and we were caught out by the weather forecast. Now we must do our best for tomorrow's race.
“It will be tough, as always when you start from the back of the grid, but we will have to try and score at least a few points. It's hard to say whether it's better to hope for rain or sunshine: maybe with the former there might be more chance of the tables being turned, but it's equally true that there are more chances of ending up out of the race.”
Chris Dyer also had a selection of excuses for the team’s poor qualifying result. “Obviously, we are very disappointed. Yesterday, we did a good job of preparing for the weekend and this morning, the F10 was clearly very competitive in the dry and we therefore hoped for a good result this afternoon. The way the weather changed caught us on the back foot. An improvement had been predicted up to the end of Q1 and, in those circumstances it made sense to go out in the late stages. We went out at the mid point and after a few laps, some of them spoiled by yellow flags, the rain got heavier and we could no longer improve our performance, even if Fernando got very close right at the end. A real shame, as tomorrow's race now becomes a case of damage limitation because of our grid positions. All the same, we are confident that we have a competitive car and we also have faith in our drivers, therefore we will try and make the most of this situation.”