With Fernando Alonso and Felipe Massa qualifying sixth and seventh for tomorrow’s Monaco Grand Prix, Ferrari got both cars into top-ten grid positions for the first time this season, and secured the best team qualifying result of the 2012 campaign so far.
Alonso will actually start from fifth, once Michael Schumacher‘s grid penalty from Spain has been applied.
“I am happy with this qualifying, the best as a team that we have seen this season,” said the Spaniard. “I have had a good feeling all weekend long. Maybe in Q3, we could have shaved a few hundredths off here and there, but I don't think I'd have moved up any places, given that the driver in front of me is three tenths away.
“Usually here it falls to the top three on the grid to fight for the win, so I think that our realistic goal is a place on the podium, but we also know that surprises are the order of the day. We saw that again today, with Michael on pole: I was very pleased for him, even though he won't be able to make the most of it because of the penalty.
“In terms of the championship, it's a good grid, given that of the immediate rivals, only Hamilton starts ahead of us and Vettel is actually ninth. Michael alongside me on the grid? It's been a while, so it will be nice to have him close by, but I'll be concentrating on passing the four in front rather than thinking about the sixth placed man.”
After the qualifying session today, Massa understandably seemed far more pleased than he has for the rest of the season, given the tough run he has endured on Saturday afternoon at the opening five races.
“It was a good qualifying and I could definitely have done even better than this seventh place: fifth was within my reach, given what we saw in Q1 and Q2,” said the Brazilian. “Unfortunately, in Q3 I did not manage to get a perfectly clean lap because of traffic, but that's an easy thing to find here. Having said that, I am very happy with how things have gone in this Grand Prix so far. Finally, I am having fun at the wheel of the F2012: clearly the set-up we have chosen here makes it much easier to make the most of its potential. It's a point to keep in mind for the rest of the championship too.
“Michael did a great lap and I congratulate him: a shame that he will then find himself very close to me on the grid tomorrow afternoon. Let's hope we have a good race tomorrow and that a new championship can really get underway for me!”
Ferrari team prinicpal Stefano Domenicali praised Massa for his efforts today, and congratulated his old driver for coming out on top in qualifying.
“All in all, we can be pleased with the overall result of this qualifying, the first time this season that we have managed to get both our drivers through to Q3, I am particularly happy for Felipe who finally managed to show what he is capable of,” said Domenicali. “As has more than ever been the case this year, all three parts that go to make up qualifying are very closely contested and it only takes the slightest thing to turn things on their head.
“Tomorrow's race will have everything going for it, from the first to the last lap. We know just how much the many imponderables in this race can effect the outcome and this time, there's the additional factor of tyre behaviour over a long run, given that no one was able to check on that during free practice. We must be ready to deal with any eventuality and react to every changing situation.
“Finally, I want to congratulate Michael Schumacher for his fantastic pole position: I think this result comes at the right time for him and on a track that has played a truly significant role in his career.”