Fernando Alonso is hoping to take home a trophy from the inaugural Indian Grand Prix tomorrow after qualifying fourth and then inheriting third place on the grid from Lewis Hamilton.
The Briton will be demoted three-grid places tomorrow following a penalty picked up during free practice yesterday morning, which means that Alonso will start behind only the two Red Bull drivers, who lock-out the front row in Delhi.
“It was important to get onto the front two rows, as it's easier to fight for a good result from here,” said the Spaniard. “I don't think there's much of a difference between the two vertical lines of the grid because the ideal line on the start-finish straight goes down the middle, so both sides are quite dirty. In fact the dirt off the racing line could be a problem for overtaking with whoever initiates the move having to give it everything without hesitating.
“So far, this weekend has gone as expected and now we will try and do a good job tomorrow. It would be very nice to bring home one of the trophies that will be handed out to those who make it to the podium on Formula 1's debut in India.”
Team-mate Felipe Massa had a much more difficult qualifying session today. In the dying moments, the Brazilian was trying to improve on sixth place when he clouted a kerb and broke the front suspension on his Ferrari.
“What happened on my last timed lap was a real shame,” said Massa. “Today, we had the potential to secure a good placing, as Fernando demonstrated and as can also be seen from the fact my sixth best time was set with a rather slow third sector. I came into Turn 8 and went over the kerb and the front right suspension gave way in the impact with the raised orange part, which in my opinion is too high at this point. It's a very fast corner, taken at around 215 km/h and it could be arranged differently. These are details that need improving for next year.
Ferrari team principal Stefano Domenicali is clearly enjoying his weekend in India, and is reasonably happy with the performance of his car at this new Buddh International Circuit.
“First of all, I wish to congratulate the organisers of this Grand Prix. Bringing Formula 1 to India is a great achievement and they and Bernie Ecclestone deserve the credit for it,” he said. “This country is growing rapidly, even if there are sharp contrasts, but never before have we seen our sport welcomed with such enthusiasm and interest from the general public.
“As for qualifying, I have to say our car's overall performance was good: being less than a tenth off the front row – Vettel was once again untouchable – means that we are not looking too bad at this track. We are obviously disappointed for Felipe, who has been very quick all weekend: accidents like this can happen, but the important thing is that the driver is fine.
“Usually, our race pace is better than our outright performance in qualifying: let's hope that is also the case tomorrow and we can leave India with a good result under our belt.”