Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali said that today’s qualifying result in Germany – P4 for Fernando Alonso and P5 for Felipe Massa – matched the team’s expectations, a somewhat surprising conclusion perhaps, considering the apparent competitiveness Alonso had shown over the course of the Free Practice sessions.
Before talking about the on-track action at the NÃ¼rburgring ring, however, Domenicali mentioned the tragic news coming out of Norway this weekend.
“First of all, on behalf of Scuderia Ferrari may I offer our condolences for the victims of the tragic incident in Norway yesterday,” he said. “Seeing once again the extent to which human folly can drive people is always shocking and makes everything else seem unimportant today.
“All in all, I think the [qualifying] result matched our expectations. There is still a gap to the quickest, but it is definitely smaller than it had been a few races ago, which confirms we are working in the right direction. It might rain tomorrow, which would add further uncertainty to a race that already looks very open.”
Alonso also reinforced the notion that a second row grid slot was about all that could be expected for him here in Germany. “We though the Red Bulls would be three or four tenths faster than us and that was the case and then even Hamilton went very well, especially in the first sector and got in between us,” commented the Spaniard. “In fact, McLaren had so many new parts here and you could see they were working well.
“I am happy with my lap and with the result and anyway, this year we have seen that we have always gone better in the race than in qualifying. Let's see what the weather will do tomorrow, as rain is forecast. If it turned out to be dry, then we can claim to have a 25% chance of winning and a bit less if it rains, but only because so far, in the wet others have been better than us. Maybe tomorrow the situation could turn around, you never know.
“I am still aiming for the podium, but if the chance of a win comes along I won't need to be asked twice. Also at this track, we have seen the updates we have introduced helping to improve our performance, race after race. Clearly, we must take a further step forward if we want to be up there with the best.”
Massa was surprised at Hamilton’s pace in qualifying (as, admittedly, were most observers today) but thinks that Ferrari are fairly well equipped should any rain materialise during tomorrow’s race.
“I can't claim to be completely happy with this qualifying, because some cars were faster than ours,” said the Brazilian. “That might not be surprising in the case of the Red Bulls, but it definitely is the case with Hamilton's McLaren. Tomorrow, we will aim to make our usual step forward in the race, but we know it won't be easy.
“The big unknown for the race will be the weather: we have the maximum aerodynamic downforce possible, which should be a help if it does rain. In any case, in the wet it will be vital to make the most of any opportunities that come our way.”