Ferrari declared themselves ‘pleased’ with the 26 points they accrued in Barcelona today as Fernando Alonso finished second in front of his adoring fans while Felipe Massa was sixth to the checkered flag.
The result leaves Ferrari second in the constructors championship, just three points behind leader’s McLaren. Fernando Alonso sits second in the drivers table, three points behind Jenson Button.
“Our aim today was to make the most of the package we had and we can claim to have succeeded in that,” reasoned team principal Stefano Domenicali. “Fernando drove an amazing race, managing the car and tyres in the best way possible and this second place is just reward for all the hard work he has done, along with the team.
“Felipe got a great start and was always in a battle with Button and Schumacher, in a race that was always difficult for him: we have to work out how to make his car work the tyres better. Overall, we can be pleased with this result, given the situation in terms of different performance levels when compared to some of our rivals. However, as we are well aware, the races are long and difficult and only end at the chequered flag.
“We must continue to work on our performance because we have a significant gap to make up. We must continue to work on performance, because some of our rivals have shown they have made a bigger step forward than us.”
Fernando Alonso was also happy with second place, which he inherited from Lewis Hamilton on the penultimate lap when the front left tyre of his McLaren blew. “I am happy with getting this second place in front of my fans: I am happy for them, but especially for the team, who have worked so hard this weekend without making mistakes. It's true the result came in an unexpected way, but that's racing.
“We knew we could expect a difficult Grand Prix, because on tracks like this we still don't have enough aerodynamic downforce to fight for pole position and the win, even if the races are very long and that was confirmed yet again today. In circumstances like this we have to try and attack and exploit every opportunity.
“Our strong point seems to be tyre management as ours seemed to be in better condition than those of our rivals in the final stages of the race. We have to up our performance level, but we do have the potential to win the championship. The management system for the blown rear wing worked well but it is still at the experimental stage. Maybe in Turkey we will have an updated version.
“Now we go to Monaco, a special Grand Prix that everyone wants to win. Set-up and tyres will be different to what we had here and we will see where that puts us compared to the others. After a few difficult races, I got back on the podium and I am second, three points behind the leader of the classification: there is still a long way to go in the championship, but I repeat, this is a great result.”
Felipe Massa has failed to impress this weekend. He finished a lacklustre sixth place, over a minute behind his teammate. “It was a difficult race,” said the Brazilian. “I got a good start but then I was always behind other cars and I never managed to run at a constant pace.
“Once again today, the main difficulty was a lack of grip, especially in the third sector: every time it looked as though I might close on Button, he managed to get away from me over some sections of the track. We must work to improve the car's performance and there is no doubt about it. Even though we brought home a good number of points, I can't be happy with the way things went this weekend.
“When I touched a backmarker, the left front wing end plate got broken, but the handling of the car was not affected much. If I'd returned to the pits to change the nose, I would have lost at least three places, so the decision to stay out on track was the right one.
“Now we immediately head for Monaco, my second home race, given that I live a few hundred metres from the track. We will have different tyres to here and I hope we go back to finding ourselves in a more favourable situation, at least from my point of view.”
Chief Engineer Chris Dyer reflected on a solid weekend for the team, and is now looking ahead to next weekend’s grand prix in Monaco: “A fantastic result for Fernando, while Felipe also drove a good race, after getting a great start. The team worked very well: perfect pit stops, no technical problems on either car. We knew it would be a very tough race for us, given the difference in performance to the Red Bulls that we had seen in qualifying.
“In the race we did not make any mistakes and in the end, we managed to profit from the problems of other drivers, which in fact illustrates that reliability remains the crucial factor if you want to reach your goals. Now we most concentrate on the next round in Monaco, a Grand Prix that is very special in every way.”