Alonso Fifth in Hungary but Raikkonen Gamble Backfires

The Scuderia Ferrari team had a very mixed qualifying session in Hungary with Fernando Alonso taking fifth on the grid, but Kimi Raikkonen will start seventeenth after being eliminated in the first qualifying segment after a gamble to remain in the pits backfired spectacularly.

Alonso was happy to take fifth at the Hungaroring, having felt like he took every opportunity that presented itself to the Spaniard. He knows the importance of scoring points with both drivers as Ferrari look to reclaim third place in the Constructors’ championship from Williams.

“After a chaotic qualifying like today’s, you always think you could have done better,” said Alonso. “But if you then analyse everything that happened, finishing fifth is a good result, because we made the most of every opportunity that came our way.

“Getting to start on the clean side of the track is very important as it gives you a chance to make up places at the start and to race with the leaders. The rain expected for tomorrow definitely has an effect on strategy: so far, in the hot and dry conditions, there was talk of two or three stops, but tomorrow everything changes.

“Both Kimi and I need to score points for the team, because we want to get back the third place in the Constructors’ championship that we lost last weekend. Even starting far back, a good strategy could help us reach that goal.”

Team-mate Raikkonen has been quick all weekend but a gamble to remain in the pits after setting just one quick lap time on the medium tyres did not pay off as Jules Bianchi of Marussia jumped ahead of the Finn with a lap on the soft tyres. Raikkonen was disappointed with the outcome, and now expects a difficult race from the back.

“I am very disappointed with the outcome of qualifying, especially because this weekend I was going well and had a good feeling from the car,” said Raikkonen. “After the first run on the Medium tyres the team told me that my time should be good enough to get me through to the next part and so we decided to take a risk and not go out for a second run on the softer compound. Unfortunately, it didn’t pay off and I couldn’t get past Q1.

“It’s going to be difficult, because there’s not much chance of overtaking here at the Hungaroring. We definitely made a mistake, but now I only want to look ahead. Tomorrow, even if it will be tough, we will do our best to try and move up the order.”

Technical Director Pat Fry admitted the team’s gamble on not going on track for another lap backfired on them with Raikkonen, but was happy Alonso was easily able to make it into Q3.

“Mixed fortunes for our team in today’s qualifying, with our drivers ending up no less than twelve places apart,” said Fry. “In the first part, the fact that Maldonado and Hamilton were out led us to keep both cars in the garage, banking on the times set with the Medium tyres. With Fernando this worked, but unfortunately, with Kimi we were caught out by the evolution of the track. It’s very disappointing not to have got through with him because he’s been going better this weekend.

“Clearly tomorrow he will be on the attack: on this track, it’s not easy to move up the order because of the traffic, but our race pace is good and we will do all we can to turn things around. In the second part of qualifying, the track continued to improve and Fernando got into Q3 easily enough.

“In the end, when the rain came, we decided to go out immediately, but then it was impossible to finish the lap. The hot track dried out very quickly but, concerned it might rain again, we decided to go out on track earlier than planned and Fernando ended up fifth. Rain is forecast for tomorrow which means it is even harder to make predictions, but whatever the weather we must try and get Kimi back up into the points and to get a good haul with Fernando.”