Although Ferrari achieved their best qualifying result of the season so far in Monaco today, team principal Stefano Domenicali and both of his drivers felt that they should have been higher up the grid, especially considering their performance in the practice sessions and the early part of this afternoon’s qualifying session.
An accident for Sergio Perez in Q3, which hospitalised the Mexican driver, resulted in a red flag and a long delay at the end of the season. This unexpected break caused a bit of a problem for the teams as they tried to maximise their grid positions.
“First of all, our thoughts are with Sergio Perez, his family and everyone at Sauber,” said Domenicali. “We got a real fright when he crashed into the barriers but, fortunately, we can now breathe a sigh of relief at the news that his condition is not serious.
“As for the actual qualifying, we cannot deny that, given how things had gone up to the end of Q2, we could have hoped for a bit more. The red flag in the final part of Q3 definitely played a role in the strategy we adopted, putting us in a difficult position as we were unable to properly exploit the second set of option tyres. That's Monaco and one has to accept that things like this can happen.”
Fernando Alonso, who will start tomorrow’s race from fourth on grid, was expecting his old team-mate at McLaren to get pole position. The Spaniard feels he could have done better, given more favourable circumstances, and is not expecting much overtaking in tomorrow’s race.
“In qualifying I did not have as good a feeling from the car as I got in free practice and we need to work out exactly why,” explained the double world champion. “Today, McLaren were very quick and I think Hamilton was probably favourite to get pole. I don't think the result of Q3 represents the true order because the red flag mixed up plans for many of the drivers. For Hamilton it went badly, while everything was fine for Red Bull, with us at a halfway point: we should have done two runs of two timed laps each without refuelling and therefore, we did not get the most out of the tyres.
“I reckon that tomorrow, overtaking will be pretty much impossible, despite the KERS, DRS and whatever else. The start will be very important and our race pace is good, so I hope I can make up some places, also making the most of any unpredictable situations and of our strategy. I expect some drivers will try for two stops and maybe others will risk doing only one. The car is handling better than a week ago at the Catalunya circuit: the balance is fine and the supersofts are working well.
“Perez's accident? From inside my car I had no information as to his condition. Frightening accidents like this do make for a bit of tension, but then you try and stay focussed and do your best.”
Felipe Massa blames his own mistake for not qualifying higher than the sixth position he secured and, like his team-mate, the Brazilian is not expecting many pit stops tomorrow.
“A mixture of satisfaction and regret for me after this qualifying,” he said, summarising his session. “Along with the team, we managed to improve the handling of the car compared to free practice, reducing the oversteer, but a mistake at Rascasse in Q3 cost me one or two places. A shame, as I was on a good lap.
“Starting sixth is not brilliant at Monaco but here you need to use your head in the race: we will have to concentrate throughout as anything can happen. The start will be very important, but so too will be staying calm and cool-headed, lap after lap, because any mistake can cost you dear. Tyre degradation is less than we have seen before, so I don't think there will be so many pit stops.
“I hope Sergio is okay: it was a frightening accident and the impact was really heavy. That part of the track is very tricky and accidents are very common there.”