In front of their adoring Tifosi, the Scuderia Ferrari team saw Fernando Alonso take seventh place on the grid, but Kimi Raikkonen struggled during qualifying and will start the Italian Grand Prix down in eleventh.
Alonso had been strong throughout free practice but admitted seventh was the best he could have hoped for in qualifying with the Mercedes-powered teams having superior one-lap pace. He believes tyre management will be key to having a good afternoon on Sunday, and he hopes to be fighting near the front in front of Ferrari’s home fans.
“We knew that, as usual in qualifying, it would be tough and that the encouraging signs we saw in free practice should not create false expectations,” said Alonso. “Unfortunately today, we could not have done better, because even though I was trying my hardest, we set very similar times with all four sets of tyres.
“Now, we must look ahead to the race, which will be a tough one and, given how small the gaps are, it could also be very interesting. Usually here, at the first chicane, there’s a lot of action and you need to be very careful if you want to be in the game. On top of that, it will be very important to manage the tyre degradation, given that the best strategy would seem to be a one-stop. Because of that it means doing a lot of laps on both compounds.”
Raikkonen was despondent after missing out on making it through to the final part of qualifying, and will start eleventh after Daniil Kvyat takes his engine change penalty. The Finn admitted to struggling for grip during qualifying that cost him a better result, with Raikkonen feeling he should have qualified inside the top ten.
“After a definitely positive start to the weekend, today in qualifying, I was expecting a better result,” insisted Raikkonen. “I experienced some difficulties in the afternoon, as the car was harder to drive, I was struggling to find the right grip level and I was locking the fronts. That’s why, on my last run on the Medium tyres, I made a few small mistakes which prevented me getting further than Q2.
“Starting eleventh is not ideal but all the same, I will give it my best shot tomorrow. We know we are up against some very strong opponents, but the long run went well and even if the race is another matter, this factor means we can be confident. It will be very important to get off the line well and choose the best strategy. It would be very nice to produce a good result for all our fans who have come to support us here in Monza.”