Fernando Alonso is opening he can mount a challenge to the two Red Bull drivers in tomorrow’s British Grand Prix after his Ferrari was just over a tenth of a second off the pace of pole-sitter Mark Webber in qualifying today.
The two red cars of the Scuderia will line-up behind the Red Bull duo on Row 2 tomorrow, led by Alonso, who believes that the updates on his F150° Italia are working well this weekend.
“I think that was the best qualifying of the year in performance terms,” said the Spaniard. “It's true that the actual result was better in Canada – second – but I was further off pole position than I am today. Furthermore, we are at a circuit that definitely does not suit the characteristics of our car and to be just over a tenth off first is a great sign.
“The new parts we introduced here worked well and I think that tomorrow, we can put those who start in front of us under a bit of pressure. The team has done so much work and this step forward is down to them.”
Felipe Massa was also encouraged by the qualifying pace today. “I'd say this was a good qualifying for us: to be third and fourth on the grid is a nice result, especially when compared to some Saturdays earlier in the season,” said the Brazilian. “In Q3, at first I did not get a good lap, making a few mistakes: I thought I could make up for it on my second run, but the rain arrived and it was no longer possible. Fourth place is therefore positive, especially as I was able to keep both McLarens behind me.
“From what we can see, the car seems competitive. Sure, we don't have much to go on, especially on full tanks and in terms of how the tyres will perform on a long run. It will be a bit like racing in the dark with so many things only coming to light during the race.”
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that today’s qualifying result, and the relatively small gap to Red Bull was an indication of all the hard work that the team have put in over recent months.
“An encouraging qualifying, especially in terms of our performance,” said Domenicali. “Coming this close to pole position at a track which, on paper, looks like a tough one for us, is a positive step and a good basis from which to start our work for the future, both in the short and long term. I say this because we have worked so hard these past months to make up a very big gap and, step by step, we are getting there. We have to continue in this manner, if possible doing even more.
“As for this weekend, which is such an important one for us, as it marks the sixtieth anniversary of Scuderia Ferrari's first Formula 1 win, we must try our best to have a good race. We start from good positions and from the little we have been able to tell over these past two days, the updates we have brought here are working well. Usually, our race pace is better than in qualifying, so let's hope that is also the case tomorrowâ€¦”